The debate continues over whether plying a carp with booze is inhumane treatment of animals or a treasured part of Japan’s cultural heritage.
Japanese children enjoy many rite-of-passage celebration and age-specific holidays. This week it was Girls’ Day (hina matsuri) on March 3rd; next up in May will be Children’s Day (kodomo no hi). Another children’s holiday comes along in November: shichi-go-san, for children who have turned 3, 5 or 7 that year.
Once Japanese young adults turn 20, they have a special holiday to celebrate the beginning of adulthood, too. Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi) celebrates those who have reached the Japanese age of majority by turning 20 the previous year. And now growing in popularity is the “halfway to adulthood” festival, held when a child is 10 years old.
So what is this new(ish) celebration, where did it come from, and what does its burgeoning popularity tell us about Japan today?
We’ve seen what can happen when high schools relax the rules for yearbook photos. Today, we bring you the Japanese anything-goes graduation! At the Kanazawa College of Art, graduating students can wear anything they want to the ceremony – and they certainly rise to the challenge.
The students’ epic outfits have become such a popular attraction that TV crews even turn up to find and interview the wearers of this year’s best costumes. The effort these students have put into their outfits is really something!
While many people immediately think of samurai when Japan is mentioned, you might not expect to find many swordcrafters still working in the modern-day. And certainly not out in public for everyone to see!
However, the start of every year sees a gathering of swordcrafters in Gifu Prefecture where they ceremonially pound a piece of steel in a centuries old traditional ceremony. It looks cool and must be great exercise to work off all the osechi calories too!
This must be a summer for fake funerals. In July, Hatsune Miku found herself interred in Nico Nico Douga videos following a politician’s speculative remarks. And now a Lexus car is at the center of a new round of Internet amusement after some commenters noted that the company’s “car delivery ceremony” is oddly similar to a funeral.
In case no one told you, it’s obon this week in Japan! For many people this means a well-deserved long vacation and a trip home. It also means lots of fun cultural events. As you may know, obon is a Buddhist holiday all about the spirits of deceased ancestors coming back for a short visit. Tourou nagashi, literally “lanterns flowing,” is a special ceremony where, as the name implies, lanterns are set afloat, usually down a river. It’s a fun way to spend your evening and an incredible sight as well! This week, we headed to Azuma Bridge in Asakusa, Tokyo to check out the ceremony!
Have you ever bumped into an acquaintance and asked how their spouse was, only to find out they got divorced a month earlier. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to avoid these social landmines which multiply with the ever growing divorce rate?
Divorce Newspapers have been developed in Japan which allow couples to distribute a report of the demise of their marriage to friends and family quickly and easily. It’s also a way for the newly divorced to save the embarrassment of telling each person individually and helps people to avoid social blunders like above.