Tag Archives: New Year

Daruma Wishes

At a Takasaki temple, in the city where Daruma were created, every year you can go there, buy a wooden Daruma and string you wish onto a wishing post. As you can see, on the front is the traditional face and on the back you write your wishes for the new year.

And on a different post / tree (I’ve seen both), you can tie your bad luck. I’ve been told that you can only tie it with your non-dominant hand to let it “fly away”. Mine (tied with my left hand) was still there later. (Does that mean I kept it?) :-<

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Posted by on 18/01/2012 in Places, Religion


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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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Nengajo (Ne neigh – nga Ga – jo Joe) a.k.a. New Year’s Cards

So in Japan, New Year’s Day is for family while Christmas is for friends or couples, which is almost a complete switch from the U.S. Families will normally send out cards for the new year, and these can be as different as Christmas cards can be; short messages or longer accounts on what’s been happening within the family.

There does have to be a certain phrase on every card: Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu, basically Happy New Year (not literal translation).  The temptation not to teach you how to say this phrase is great. 😉

Akemashite (A ah – ke cay – ma Ma – shi shh – te table)

Omedeto (Ome merry – de day – to tow, long o sound)

Gozaimasu (Gozai sigh with a z – ma Ma – su Sue)

On the card below, you’ll see this saying written in Japanese on the right hand side, upper corner. In the bottom right corner, you’ll see the rabbit (2011 is the year of rabbit), some mochi and a tangerine / Mandarin orange on top.

This is a card I got from one of my teachers, someone who I would also consider a friend as well. (She was so cute when I thanked her for the card at work, she had wanted to put her name in English because she was worried I wouldn’t be able to read the kanji! 🙂 I told it it was fine, I could read her family name and I knew who it had come from).

The only time a person will not get or give a new year’s card is if they’ve had a death in the family (they’ll send out an earlier card telling of the death).

And if they are around 25 or younger, they tend to send out mass e-mails to their friends instead of cards.

Huh…I’m thinking this would be a great tradition for me to do, instead of Christmas cards.

Hehehe, family, watch out! 🙂

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Posted by on 08/01/2011 in Holidays


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