Dear News Letter readers,
Hello, this is Mitsue. How are you doing? It's already February now. Wow, time flies!
February 3rd was 'Risshun' this year, the first day of spring according to the old Japanese calendar (lunar calendar). On the day, there is an old custom called 'Setsubun' of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting "In with Fortune! Out with Evil" in order to prevent evils from entering one's house. It is believed that evils are warded off by throwing beans, and good fortunes will come in. According to old folklore, if you eat the same number of beans as your age, you will enjoy a year with good health. Also we bite 'Eho-maki', a rolled sushi turning in the direction of North-northwest. The direction changes every year, because God of lucky is said to change his place. It is an amazing custom, isn't it?
Back to the story of January, the second Monday of January is a national holiday of“Coming of Age Day". At the age of 20, it is a transition from a child to an adult in Japan, and they can drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. About 1,230,000 new adults were celebrated this year. Each area welcome them with a ceremony which is usually held at public halls or gyms. Depending on the area, some ceremonies are held at hotels or even at Tokyo Disneyland! By attending to the ceremony of the hometown, they have a chance to meet friends they haven't seen for a long time. Most of the women wear Furisode. Furisode is the most formal type of kimono worn by unmarried women. Furisode have long sleeves and usually have very colorful and decorative patterns. Furisode are commonly rented or bought by parents for their daughters to dress, celebrating the Coming of Age Day. Men usually wear suits, but some ones wear kimono and Hakama (men's formal divided skirt).
My daughter became 20 years old last summer, so she attended the ceremony. On the day, she visited a beauty salon which I reserved one year prior to the day for her to be dressed in Furisode and get her hair done. However, she wasn't pleased by the way of their dressing and got upset. I was worried about her, but she seemed to enjoy meeting friends and having fun.
She already took photos in advance wearing Furisode in summer as I had written before. I realized it is surely good to take photos in advance with relaxed feeling.
Recently, wearing mother's Furisode with a few arrangement is in boom. Young women enjoy Kimono coordinating with modern collar, han-eri(added collar), obiage and obijime. Even the classical pattern will become modern atmosphere depending on the obi. So, I want my daughter wear my Furisode with new arrangements someday.
Well, have you ever seen New Year's postcards with lottery numbers? In Japan, we usually use the New Year's lottery postcards as Nengajo to say 'Happy New Year'. I send about 50 postcards to friends and relatives every year, but nowadays E-mail and SNS had taken the place of it for young people.
This year is Toridoshi, a year of rooster/chicken. It is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. So most of the cards were with rooster/chicken design, and others are with family's photos. I really like to see the New Year's cards thinking about how they are doing now.
Two weeks ago, lucky numbers were announced. The first prize is cash of 100,000 yen, the second one is a package of products from countryside and third one is a sheet of stamps.
I usually get the last one every year, and this year was not an exception! However, the design of stamps is so beautiful and it is very exciting to see them. As for the zodiac animals, there is a very interesting picture book. It is also published in English, 'The race for the Chinese zodiac', so I recommend you to read it.
ICHIROYA has lots of attractive pieces with rooster/chicken design for you to
celebrate beginning of year of Rooster!