Category Archives: Holidays

New Year = New Daruma

Well, hello! Long time no write (which is completely my fault). I got a little snowed under, but I’ve pushed myself out and I’m coming back to Momiji Leaves with some more awesome pictures. I’m going to change the updating a little bit though. While my resolution for 2011 was to post a picture a day, and I did manage to get through most of the year, it was a bit hectic at times. I’m going to try to go to a three days a week timing, Monday – Wednesday – Friday. But we’ll start today with some special New Year photos 😉

I like to think of them as Decapitated Darumas (they kind of look like it, on the stick and all). Wait, aren’t they supposed to be red? And have a mustache? Well, yes, but this is before. I was able to go to Takasaki and see some daruma before they got painted! Pretty neat, huh?

This soulless looking thing was my empty Daruma that I was going to paint for the year of 2012. (Personal Daruma is not being shown since I don’t want to get lynched for destroying it) And below is the guy who made it look easy! (Pick up -> Paint -> Finish = >3 minutes) [And yes, before the new year this is a part time job he picks up. His family has been doing it for generations].


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Posted by on 16/01/2012 in Holidays


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Pumpkins (and Vampires) Marching Forwards

Probably should have given some warning, but this was my busy month. Between speech contest judging, speech contest practice, practice for university English interviews, tests, normal classes and some other stuff (like getting sick), I had very little time to update…even with all that though, I’m surprised / saddened that my last post was October 5th.

Okay…I owe 26 pictures…let’s get started!! I promise though, not all today! 😉

My wonderful husband on the left and me on the right…even though Halloween is not a big holiday in Japan, there are places that do some trick or treating (malls) and decorating (malls and shops) for kids (Darth Vader as a witch anyone?). This giant guy was at SMARK (Smile Park) in Isesaki. I might not be a child, but it was fun for the pumpkin to eat me instead of me eating pumpkin! (And after this, I had Pumpkin Lantern ice cream from Baskin Robbins). So it was a win-win situation.

Every year I get an American pumpkin for my English club to help me carve. It usually was bought from the Foreign Buyers Club (they’ll ship to me from Tokyo) but this year I was able to get a cheaper (i.e. smaller) pumpkin from the newly opened Costco in Maebashi. What I do is let my kids choose the face, and then I carve it (I love them, but don’t trust them around knives…just like my parents, I’m sure). This year (as you can see) is a starry eyed pumpkin. Last year the Jack O’Lantern had one star eye, one heart eye, a circle nose and the normal zig-zag smile. They’ve never chosen a scary face….

See why I call it Vampire Coffee? It looks like the vampire’s tooth is gleaming!

I wanted to get all of my Halloween pictures out of the way, so after today, it’ll be back to weird sayings, bad Engrish and other cool stuff. Hope everyone had a great Halloween (I did).

{23 to go}

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Posted by on 01/11/2011 in Foods, Fun Things!, Holidays


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Children’s Day

It’s the last day of Golden Week, a series of three holidays here in Japan. This year is was April 29th (Shouwa Day), May 3rd (Constitution Memorial Day),. May 4th (Greenery Day) and today, May 5th (Children’s Day).

Because girl’s have Hina Matsuri in March, Children’s Day in May is really for the boys.

These carp streamers are flown wherever there are boys, like at this child care center that’s near my school. The black one is for the father, the red one represents the mother, and each additional carp is another child. Blue -> Green -> Purple / Orange (depending on region). I’ve not seen either of them here, possibly because I also have seen the carp for any families that have more than two boys.

And the correct name of these carp are Koinobori (Koi – carp, noburi – streamer).

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Posted by on 05/05/2011 in Holidays


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Seasonal Greetings

Japan is not a Christian nation, but it does love any excuse for cute and / or pretty things. These Easter Egg Ice Creams at Baskin Robbins 31 are a great example! Three colors of eggs, any ice cream you want inside along with some whipped cream and jelly beans.

Honestly? I wanted to get some myself!

So do you want Green Tea ice cream or Sweet Red Bean ice cream in your egg?

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Posted by on 06/04/2011 in Fun Things!, Holidays


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White Day

Okay, so this picture is not the best taken, but today is White Day, when the guys who got chocolate on Valentine’s Day give something back to the girl(s) they want to. Even with everything that’s been happening, I received a tin of cookies, a chocolate cake heart, a few small bags of chocolate and a chocolate donut…and that was from only one of my schools.

The chocolate below says “I hope your feelings are answered” (be nice to the translator, he had to make do with my photo).

Huh…I tried to get the one that said, “Before you give the chocolate, make sure you check for a wedding ring.”

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Posted by on 14/03/2011 in Foods, Holidays


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Valentine’s Day in Japan

To everyone, Happy Valentine’s Day!

In Japan, we do it a little bit differently. Over here, women give chocolate to men and the chocolate is usually hand made. Two beautiful, delicious chocolates are pictured in the upper left corner. They were made by one of my students and she was kindly giving them to all of her teachers, male and female.

My husband got the box of strawberry cake Kit Kats (which I won from a crane machine), and he was kind enough to help me make about 90 rice crispy treats for me to give to all my male co-workers.

In the past years, I have made; shaped chocolates, colored shaped chocolates, chocolates with various designs on them, and now the rice crispy treats.

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Posted by on 14/02/2011 in Foods, Holidays


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Setsubun (celery sesew with hard t sound subu boon n) is celebrate before the first day of Spring (February 3rd or 4th).  This is a great holiday (not a day off school sadly) because you throw beans at the oldest man in the household, who is usually waering a mask that looks like the demon / ogre below and chant “Demons out! Good Luck in!”

Demons / Ogres in Japan are usually characterized by curly hair, little horns and a beard. They also will have either red skin or blue skin. The popular translation for Oni (O ohni neice) is ogre, but it can be seen as demon too.

Eating this un-cut sushi roll in the proper lucky direction, as determined by the yearly zodiac, will also bring you good luck.

And don’t forget to eat the roasted soy beans! More good luck will come to you if you eat as many as your years.

(the picture, if you’re curious about the sign in front of me, says “Say Cheese!”)

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Posted by on 03/02/2011 in Holidays


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