日本の習慣 Living Guide for Foreign Residents（外国人向け生活ガイドブック）＜English（英語）＞｜葛飾区公式サイト o01 custom en
Ja pa n e se cu st om s This page int roduces you t o som e Japanese social cust om s which m ay be helpful while you adapt yourself t o Japanese way of life. Seasonal greet ings] Court esy when you m ove t o a new neighborhood] End of t he Year Event s] Com ing- of- Age Day and Japanese Kim ono] Event s in t he Spring] Bon Odori] Moonlight Part y] Nat ional Holidays in Aut um n] Se a son a l gr e e t in gs I n Japan t here are cust om s called m id- year gift (Ochu- gen) and year- end gift (Oseibo) We send Oseibo at t he end of t he year t o show appreciat ion t o bosses, client s, m at ch- m akers, old t eachers, relat ives and ot hers who deserve considerat ion. You are supposed t o send Ochu- gen from early July t o around t he t im e of 15t h and Oseibo from early Decem ber t o around 20t h. I n general t he prices of gift s range from 3000 yen t o 5000 yen depending on how m uch favor you feel you owe t o t he person. However, you do not have t o be concerned about prices because t he m ost im port ant t hing is t o convey your appreciat ion. There are a variet y of gift s, including det ergent ,seasonings, beer cert ificat es, seaweeds, and luxury fresh food delivered direct ly from t he localit y. A num ber of depart m ent st ores com pet e wit h one anot her in developing t heir own unique m erchandise. When you receive Ochu- gen or Oseibo, you send a t hank- you not e in t hree days in t he form of a post card or a let t er t o show your appreciat ion for t he gift ,for inst ance, by saying, we very m uch enj oyed t he food."Cou r t e sy w h e n you m ove t o a n e w n e igh bor h ood I n Japan when you m ove t o a new com m unit y, you visit your neighbors wit h sm all gift s. This int roduces you and reassures t he long t im e resident s who m ight be worried about t he kind of person you are. I n t he past ,people would give a present of Japanese buckwheat noodles called "Hikkoshi Soba" but now m ore and m ore people give t hings like soap or t owels. Alt hough t he younger generat ion t ends t o ignore t his cust om s, older people st ill follow it ,t hinking t his is im port ant part of court esy. Before m oving int o a large apart m ent block, you visit t he people who will be living next t o you on t he sam e floor and also t he apart m ent s above and below t o apologize for any noise you m ight m ake while m oving in. I t is also cust om ary t o greet your neighbors when you run int o t hem in t he hallway, in t he elevat or, and ot her com m unal areas. These cust om s m ight seem t roublesom e t o som e people but t hey would be m uch appreciat ed by your new neighbors. En d of t h e Ye a r Eve n t s I n Japan, Decem ber is considered t o be t he busiest m ont h of year as a series of event s such as Christ m as, Bonenkai (end- of- year part y) Osoj i (general house- cleaning) and preparat ion for t he New Year t ake place. This page int roduces you t o t he end of year event s in Japan. Ch r ist m a s> As you know, Christ m as is a Christ ian celebrat ion. However, it becam e one of t he biggest yearend event s in Buddhist Japan aft er t he World War I I ,and it was developed int o a non- religious Japanese st yle Christ m as. The Japanese enj oy exchanging present s and eat Christ m as cakes. Going t o t he church on t he eve is not very popular in Japan. I nst ead, Christ m as part y is held on t he eve wit h friends inst ead wit h fam ily, and chicken is eat en as a Christ m as feast inst ead t urkey. Thus it becam e m ore like Japanese st yle Christ m as. Bon e n k a i> Though it is t he busiest m ont h of year, Decem ber is also t he t im e for t he Japanese t o enj oy Bonenkai. Bonenkai lit erally m eans a part y for forget t ing t he year. Usually sect ions of com panies, social groups and close friends have own Bonenkai. Many rest aurant s and I zakayas (Japanese st yle pub) are full in Decem ber because of t his event .Osoj i> Am ong a great m any annual event s, Osoj i (general house- cleaning) is one of t he m ost essent ial preparat ions for Oshogat su or t he New Year. I n addit ion t o t he usual cleaning, t he cleaning of window screens, kit chen fan and room lum ps, t hose of which are rarely done by daily cleaning, are done. Osoj i is not m erely a t horough cleaning, but it originally has a religious significance of purificat ion. Osoj i m ust t radit ionally be done by all fam ily m em bers, t hough nowadays fem ale m em bers of a house are t end t o be in charge of it .Pr e pa r a t ion for t h e N e w Ye a r >One of t he m ost essent ial preparat ions for Oshogat su (t he New Year) is cooking Osechi Ryori (new year plat es) Osechi is eat en during t he first t hree days of Oshogat su. I t m ust be cooked ahead of t im e, so t hat t he m ot her can share in t he j oys of Oshogat su wit hout spending all her t im e in t he kit chen. Osechi is neat ly packed in a Jubako, a 4- 5 t iered lunch box, and each food has m eaning which m ake a Japanese New Year m erry. Som e of t he m eanings are as follows; Bam boo Shoot :bam boo shoot wit h a lot of j oint st ands for const ancy Whit e Radish (Daikon) it sym bolizes a long life Dat em aki: Rolled om elet m eans progress of learning Kurom am e: Black sweet ened soybeans m ean hard working Kazunoko: Herring roe m eans t o be blessed wit h children Anot her im port ant preparat ion for Oshogat su is t he New Year decorat ions such as Kadom at su (pipe- t ree branches) put up at t he gat es, Shim enawa (a sacred st raw fest oon) hunged above t he front door, and Kagam im ochi (round m irror- shaped rice cakes) offered in t he alcove of t he m ain room or on Kam idana (t he household alt ar) Those decorat ions m ust be com plet ed by Decem ber 30 as one- day decorat ion is believed t o be unlucky. Om isok a >Om isoka is t he last day of t he year, which is Decem ber 31st .Preparat ions for t he New Year are t o be m ade by Om isoka. Typically, t he Japanese spend Om isoka night eat ing m andarin oranges in Kot at su (a t able wit h a heat er and a coverlet )and wat ching NHK Kohaku Ut agassen (t he annual singing cont est on New Year’s Eve) Also, t here are t wo m ore im port ant event s t hat should not be forgot t en, which are list ening t o Joya- no- Kane and eat ing Toshikoshi Soba. On New Years’ Eve, t em ples ring Joya- no- Kane, or t he wat ch- night bell, 108 t im es, wishing t o relieve t he hum an sufferings caused by m en’s eart hly desires, which am ount ,according t o Buddhist belief, t o 108. Toshikoshi Soba is t he soba noodle eat en on t he New Year’s Eve. As noodles being long, we eat t he noodles wishing our long lives. Com in g- of- Age D a y a n d Ja pa n e se Kim on o The Com ing- of- Age (Seij in- shiki) cerem ony is im port ant event in Japan. The cerem ony is held t o welcom e young people who get vot ing right and adm it t ed int o t he societ y as full grownups. Hist orically Com ing- of- Age Day was celebrat ed on Jan.15, invit ing t hose who becam e 20 years old t o t he official Com ing- of Age cerem ony at m unicipal halls. I n 2000, t he dat e was changed t o t he second Monday of January. Every year t here are m any report s on bad m anners am ong part icipant s who don't list en t o speeches by host s of cerem ony, m ake noises and don't behave t hem selves. Event ually som e are even ordered t o leave t he sit e. Many adult s are lam ent ed and t hink such invit ees are not ent it led t o be t reat ed as grownups. Several m unicipal bodies decided t o cancel t he cerem ony t his year. I t is very regret t able as t here are a lot of young people who are looking forward t o at t ending t he cerem ony. The Com ing- of- Age cerem ony is enj oyable as you can see m any young girls in t radit ional Japanese Kim ono. I n Japan, t here is a cust om t hat single girls wear kim ono wit h long sleeves, while m arried wom en wear kim ono wit h short sleeves. Kim ono is very expensive and parent s who have daught ers save m oney t o buy Kim ono. But Kim ono is very t ight garm ent ,so m any young girls who have accust om ed t o wearing casual clot hes like j eans don't wear it oft en. They put on Kim ono only lim it ed occat ions like wedding cerem ony, form al part y, et c. Therefore m ore and m ore people use rent al Kim ono on Com ing- of- Age cerem ony. Eve n t s in t h e Spr in g H in a -M a t su r i (Gir ls’ Fe st iva l) March 3rd is Hina- Mat suri. I t is t he girls'day. I n Japan we set up t radit ional dolls. The girls invit e guest s and drink sweet m ild rice wine and eat diam ond- shaped rice cakes. The doll- st and is build in five or seven st airs. A set of dolls usually consist s of t he Em peror and Em press and t heir court iers. Oh a n a m i The Japanese love cherry blossom s very m uch. Every spring, m any people enj oy t he beaut y of t he cherry blossom s in full bloom while eat ing, drinking and singing under t he cherry t rees. I n som e places, t here are night t im e light ing of t he cherry t rees only during t his period. Kodom o- n o- H i (Boys' Fe st iva l) May 5t h is a nat ional holiday called Children's Day. St rict ly speaking, it 's a fest ival for lit t le boys. They display t radit ional warrior dolls, helm et ,swords in t he house. People put up carp- shaped st ream ers at t ached t o a t all bam boo pole out doors. They eat 'Chim aki',which is a kind of rice cakes wrapped in bam boo leaves. Bon Odor i I t is get t ing hot t er day by day and people plan how t o spend t he sum m er vacat ion. For business people, t he Bon period (Aug.13 -Aug.16) is convenient t o spend long holiday because during t he period m ost com panies are closed. The Bon period is originat ed from t t he Buddhism rit ual when people wish t heir ancest ors soul m ay rest in peace. Therefore m any people ret urn t o t he hom et own during t his and visit t heir ancecst ors' graveyard. There are m any com m unit y where people gat her at night and enj oy t he Japanese Bon dance and walk around various st alls of goldfish scooping, cot t on candy, t oys and so on wearing t he Yukat a (casual Japanese kim ono) and Get a (wooden clogs) I f you find a not ice of t he Bon dance nearby, why don't you j oin it and see how people enj oy t he sum m er vacat ion. M oon ligh t Pa r t y I n Japan, people celebrat e t he night of a full m oon in m id- Sept em ber. The funct ion of "Jyugoya" The night of a full m oon) originat ed from China. I n Heian Period, it was int roduced t o Japan. People com posed poem and played t he cerem onial Court m usic (Gagaku) in t he m oon viewing feast of court .I n Edo period, t he funct ion of "Jyugoya" becam e m ore popular. People m ade offering dum pling (Tsukim idango) green soybeans, t aro, persim m on and Japanese pam pas grass, et c. t o t he m oon. I n present t im e, Jyugoya" is called 'Chushu no Meiget su' t he harvest m oon) or 'I m o Meiget su' t he t aro m oon) People offer and eat t aro and dum pling on t he Jyugoya night .N a t ion a l H olida ys in Au t u m n Re spe ct -for -t h e -Age d D a y This is t he day when people express respect and wish for longevit y of t he senior people. Children m ay offer a heart ful service such as m assage t o t he grandparent s, and t heir parent s m ay give som e gift s and offer a feast .On t his day, each m unicipal governm ent organizes various event s t o ent ert ain senior cit izens. Au t u m u n a l Equ in ox D a y On t his day, t he lengt h of dayt im e and night t im e becom es equal. Cust om arily people visit t heir ancest or's graveyard and wish t hem t o rest in peace. People eat Ohagi (glut inous rice ball covered by sweet bean past e) which was once a delicacy as sugar was expensive in t hose days. Nowadays people eat it as a snack not only on t his day.