We have spontaneously converted one of our lessons into an origami-folding-event! :-) It was a lot of fun, but to be honest, it wasn't all that easy.. The Japanese mascots watched with curiosity and and a big smile on their faces! Thanks to Japan for a great idea! :-D

Bronson llegó a Montpellier y enseguida fue adoptado por los alumnos. Le hemos abrigado bien porque en Montpellier estos días hace bastante frío (aunque sabemos que está acostumbrado al frío en New Buffalo). Aquí ha conocido a Xolotl y enseguida se han echo amigos. Ahora los dos ha ido a pasar el fin de semana a casa de Sophia y de Jousra. 
Bronson came to Montpellier and then he was immediately adopted by students. We have wrapped up well because in Montpellier it's quite cold these days (although we know that he's used to be cold in New Buffalo) . Here he has met Xolotl and immediately have became friends. Now both have gone to spend the weekend to Sophia's and Jousra's house.

Happy New Year!

New year's day is called "Oshogatsu"in Japan.

Oshogatsu is one of the most important events of the year for Japanese people. During oshogatsu, family members go back to their hometown and gather together with relatives, to celebrate the New Year. It's the equivalent of the Christmas holiday season in western countries.

Typical Oshogatsu Schedule 

January 1st Gantan, New Year's Day

January 1st is a national holiday. People make their first visit of the year to shrines, and visit their relatives to exchange customary New Year's greetings. Many people put on kimono to go out.
Family members get together and play games, such as sugoroku, board games, the make-a-face-game known as fukuwarai, and so on. In the past, people used to enjoy paper craft games and hanetsuki, a game like badminton where two people hit a tiny ball with a small wooden bat. However, nowadays it seems like computer console games are more popular.
Usually people receive nenga-jyo, special New Year's greeting postcards, on this day, too.

Osechi and Otoso (New Year's special foods and drink)

Hatsumode(Visiting Temple/Shrine on New Year's Day)
Bronson went to Senshoji in Narita

There are many stands of foods, toys, charms so on.

Daruma Stand

The front approach to Sensho-ji Temple

January 2nd  kakizome, writing the first calligraphy of the year

Kakizome is an event where the first calligraphy of the year is written with a brush, while facing an auspicious direction, and is usually held on January 2nd. Japanese people write their New Year's resolution, or a Chinese character that makes them feel happy, such as “dream,”“hope” and so on.


Rice cake with sweet bean paste and Kinako(powder soybean)

From January 1st to 3rd sanganichi, the first three days of the New Year

During sanganichi, many companies and schools have holidays. However, department stores and shops are usually open and crowded with customers because of the first sales of the year, hatsu-uri.


Hanetsuki, played by young girls at New Year, resembles badminton. A wooden racket called a hagoita(battledore), on which is painted a beautiful picture, is used to hit a shuttlecock--a small, rounded piece with feathers attached--back and forth. Featuring cloth-embroidered human portraits, some battledores are also popular as beautiful ornaments. The shuttlecock game is played in formal attires, and there is also a rule that one who fails to hit it must have the face marked with India ink by a stroke of a brush. The kimono-clad girl enjoying the shuttlecock game was formerly a part of New Year's scenery. But in recent years one hardly sees this anymore, because places to play have sharply decreased as urbanization has advanced and children's style of playing games has changed with the changing times.

January 7th  nanakusa-gayu, eating porridge with seven herbs

People eat rice porridge prepared with the seven herbs of spring. They wish for good health throughout the year and, having previously eaten too much osechi and too many rice cakes, give their stomach a rest at the same time.

January 11th  kagamiwari, putting away the decorated rice cakes

People are definitely getting out of the mood of oshogatsu by mid-January. They take down the round rice cakes used for New Year's displays and eat them, typically dipping them in sweet aduki bean soup or something similar. (Actually, the rice cake has often already gone moldy by this time.)

New Year's desplay

Dondo-Yaki Bonfire

(Burning of New Year's gate decorations ) 

Dondo-yaki is a Japaneses traditional event
given for the purpose of seeing the god of the new year (歳神) off
and praying for good heallth and safety of the families.
It is said if you eat rice cakes or dango (団子) baked in the dondo
bonfire you'll be able to keep good health throughout the year.

People are waiting for fire is ready to bake rice cakes.
Rice cakes are put on the top of long tree/bamboo branch.


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