April 8th meeting!

Hello!

This is Stacie, your Japanese director!

Today, we went over the particles (助詞 (じょし / joshi)) used in Japanese.

Specifically, we went over は, が, を, に, で, and の.

Particles can be confusing especially if you’re not experienced with reading Japanese so don’t be discouraged if today’s meeting confused you.

If you couldn’t come to the meeting or would like to review what we went over, here are the Powerpoint slides for Japanese Particles!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through Facebook!

Have a great day!

Omihachiman Shrine Fire Festival

Hi everyone,

Today we’re going to talk about the Omihachiman no Hi-matsuri (Omihachiman Shrine Fire Festival). It is best known as one of the three most dangerous festivals held in Japan during mid-March. This is an annual festival where people dance excitedly amid showers of fire sparks along the burning floats. It is also called the Sagicho Festival in Japan.

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A Sagicho refers to a huge float that is built with pine torches made of woven bamboo poles that are decorated with several thousand strips of red paper. A figure of the animal of the year, according to the lunar calendar, is mounted in the center of the float. Villagers might also use their creativity to decorate the center of the float with ingredients such as beans and noodles.

Around noon, Saguache floats will gather together at Himure Hachimangu Shrine and a poll is taken to determine the best one. Then, the floats parade through the town and people will carry mikoshi (potable shrines) along with them in the street. And the Sagicho floats parade would continue until the evening of the next day, where they assemble once again, at the shrine for the highlight for the festival.

Historically, it is believed that this festival was held for the first time in the 16th Century by newcomers to the district who had been astounded by a local festival featuring huge pine torches and decided to make it into an even more impressive festival.

Safety tips: Try not to stay too close to the fire during the parade!

Warm wishes,

Xue

❣ Valentine’s Party ❣

Hey everyone!

In my previous post, I talked about how we should appreciate the people in our lives. So… how about throwing a party? (≧◡≦) It would be so fun to celebrate Valentine’s day with everyone. To help with all this, I’ve compiled projects to aid in invitations and decoration.

First of all, you have to make the invitations. A very easy heart can be folded to decorate these two projects that I found. This is the same heart used on the bear tutorial from my previous post. If you haven’t looked at that, here’s a link to an easy heart. I recommend gluing down the final flaps of the heart so that they don’t stick out.

After inviting people, we should decorate! Let’s make lucky hearts. If you’ve ever made a lucky star out of a strip of paper, this heart is a similar concept. You’re going to need a pair of scissors to round the corners. They would look adorable all grouped together like a jar of stars, but they would also look fantastic on a garland. You just need to use bigger strips of paper.

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Heart Garland

Finally, everyone’s favorite— food!! Let’s make these geometric candy containers. They can be used to hold different candies and snacks such as candy hearts, M&M’s, and so on. Also, they’re cute favorite party favors.

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Candy Containers

Doesn’t throwing a party sound so fun~ ♪☆\(^0^\) ♪(/^-^)/☆♪ Seriously, it’d be exciting to have a get together with close friends and family. I hope you all try these projects whether you make it for an event or not. Thanks for reading! ^-^

Have a great day,

Yada


Sources:

♡ Valentines ♡

Hey everyone~

It’s already February, and that means Valentines Day! >u< A lot of people seem to focus on the boyfriend/girlfriend aspect. Personally, I take this holiday as a day to appreciate all your loved ones— parents, friends, and significant others. Of course, that doesn’t mean having a sweetheart hurts. ^O^

The first project of this Valentine’s compilation is an origami heart with a tie. It’s not overly complicated, but does include a couple squash folds that may be difficult if you’re not used to them. This would be perfect for any man in your life or even a professional, working woman.

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Heart Tie

You know what else you see a lot of during this season? Stuff animals! Teddy bears are so cute, so why not fold one, too? This design is kind of two projects together. Both the bear and heart are not too hard, so don’t worry. They look adorable together, and would be great for anyone from friends to family.

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Teddy Bear

Finally… a Kawasaki rose. Among the multitudes of rose diagrams, this one is very famous. Not going to lie, it is hard to learn. The base folds are not too terrible, but the assembly can be a little confusing. I think the video does an excellent job of explaining the mechanics of it. Give it a try! They look amazing when they’re done, and your recipient will definitely appreciate the effort.

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Kawasaki Rose

Try to make something this year and express your appreciation towards the important people in your life. Make Valentine’s a day to give thanks and show your love to everyone. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have fun! ^-^

Have a great day,

Yada

Valentine’s Day Chocolates

Hello Everyone!

Valentine’s Day is slowly approaching. In Japan, women are the ones that gift men with chocolate and gifts on Valentine’s Day! There are three types of chocolates that women often give out.

The first type is called the Giri-choco (also known as obligation chocolate). This chocolate is meant for male colleagues, close male friends, and other people whom the women have no romantic attachment/feelings to. It is usually an inexpensive gift women give. Below is an example of a Giri-choco.

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Giri-choco

The second type is called the Honmei-choco (also known as True feeling chocolate). This chocolate is given to a boyfriend or husband. Women tend to make these at home to demonstrate true love. Some believe that if it is not “homemade” but bought at a store then it is not true love. These chocolates tend to be of a higher quality and more expensive than Giri-choco. Below is an example of a Honmei-choco.

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Honmei-choco

The third type is called the Tomo-choco (also known as friend chocolates). Women gives these chocolates to their female friends. Below is a picture of Tomo-choco.

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Tomo-choco

Valentine’s Day chocolates are often a big hit in Japan. Many department stores have big displays with different chocolates that can be given.

 

 

Department store chocolates
Department Store Chocolate Display

Here are some recipes in making homemade chocolate if you’re interested!

If you want to make the chocolate from scratch click here!

If not, click here!

Or if you want, you could google “homemade chocolates” and you’ll definitely find a recipe you’d like.

Thanks for reading!

Hanna

✉ Letter Folds ✉

Hey everyone!

It’s the start of a new year, and wouldn’t it be so fun to send someone a hand-written letter? It can be an exciting greeting for the beginning of 2017. My post today is about letter folds. These are folded papers with messages written on the inside. Remember when you were little and tried to pass notes in class? It’s similar to that! >u<

As I have just mentioned note passing, let’s start with that. The first project I compiled is literally a junior high folded note with a pull tab. It may be a little childish, but they bring back fun memories. And if you’ve never sent one, hey, I don’t personally think it’s too late to start. As written notes are sort of a dying culture, it’d be very meaningful to just send one as an appreciation compliment.

 

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Pull Tab Note

 

The second project is just as easy, but I personally think this design is a bit classier. This bamboo folded note is super adorable and it would be super fun to send notes. One important aspect you may consider is how difficult the note is to refold. If this is going to be passed back and forth, maybe the design should be easier, so that your recipient can return it in the manner it was sent.

 

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Bamboo Note

 

Finally, this final leaf design is pretty fancy. It’s a little harder than the previous two, but it looks gorgeous. I wouldn’t really suggest sending to spark a conversation. This project is more for a serious written letter and such. The instructions for this project are not in English, but no fears, because the pictures are pretty self-explanatory.

 

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Leaf Letter

 

I hope you all try to make one and pay forward a compliment! It never hurts to hear some positive words. Who knows, you might even brighten someone’s day. Thanks for reading and have fun~ ^-^

Have a great day,

Yada

❄ Snowflakes ❄

Hey everyone!

It’s January and the start of a new semester, is anyone excited? >____< Getting back into a productive work ethic is difficult especially with this dreary weather so far. When I typically think of a January in winter, I think of snow; therefore, I compiled a list of snowflake origami for this post! Here’s a picture of snow in Japan to start us off:

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Japan Winter

The first project is something I’ve been making since I was a kid. They’re so easy to learn, but this is more of a kirigami project. There are plenty of designs to be made if you look around. Usually, I just cut out random shapes and patterns, though. It always turns out look pretty and unique. It’s almost impossible to mess up on this project. Instructions are given if you follow the link from the photo caption.

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Kirigami Snowflakes

The second project is just as easy. This one is just a little more arts and crafts. It’s a really simple modular/kirigami piece that just takes some measuring and cutting. Putting the six pieces together forms a really fantastic, grand structure that would be great as a hanging decoration. The instructions from the following site are very easy to follow to create this beautiful snowflake.

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3D Snowflake

Finally, this last project is a big jump in level. It’s not easy like the two projects from before, but it’s not too hard either! The first step would be to make a hexagon. You can make one out of a square piece of origami paper from these instructions. Afterwards, you fold it into a snowflake from the design of Dennis Walker. As you can see, using translucent paper gives a really ethereal effect. In the link, there is a simple video to follow how to fold this amazing piece.

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Complex Snowflake

Hope you all enjoyed this snowflake compilation and that you make one of them for decoration. They’re super pretty when compile together and maybe they’ll brighten the mood for winter. Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone~^-^

Have a great day,

Yada

Bento

Hey Everyone!

Most of us have all seen a bento. Maybe some of us have even made our own! A bento is a Japanese lunch box. There are many different types of bento boxes.

How To Make Bento  | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
Bento

The original bento was first created by samurais. Samurais created the foods that evolve into the modern day bento. During this time, a bento was simple and could carry rice balls or simply just rice.

During the Meiji era, Japan was modernizing by opening their markets to the global world. The bento also became modernized. Workers made their own lunch boxes and brought them to work, mothers prepared a bento box for their children, and office workers did the same. Aluminum and lacquer boxes became popular. Many bento in Japan now are mass produced and could be bought in many places: bento shops, train stations, restaurants, and convenience stores. They are very common.

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Mass bento

There are many different types of bento. One very popular one is called the kyaraben, also known as the character bento. It is a bento that is designed with cute characters or cartoon characters. It was originally meant to entertain children. However, now there are national contests held .

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Kyaraben

Another type of bento is called the Ekiben. Ekibens are sold on shinkansen (Japanese bullet trains) and other express trains. Each station is known to have their own signature bento. There are some people who ride trains to collect the various bento.

The bento has become an important part of the Japanese culture and pastimes. People enjoy a bento under a sakura tree or during the hanami.

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Hanami Bento

There are different bento that can be created. There are simple ones with rice and a umeboshi (pickled ume plum) to more extravagant ones.

If you’re interested in making a bento, check out this website right here.

Enjoy the rest of January everyone!

Hanna

Coming of Age Day

Hey Everyone!

The second Monday of January is known as the Coming of Age Day (成人の日), also known as seijin no hi. It is a national holiday that celebrates becoming an adult. People who turned 20 years old the previous year are invited to a ceremony in their local city hall and often visit a shrine as well.

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Shrine

Women dress in a furisode.  A furisode is a long sleeve kimono that is often quite expensive and is given to the women by their parents. Furisodes are only worn by single adult women. It is meant to symbolize their availability for marriage.

Coming Of Age Day in Japan Kimono (1)
Furisode

Men wear a male kimono and a hakama. A hakama can have legs like pants but can also be open like a skirt. However many men wear western suits now.

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Poster

After the ceremony and visit to the shrine, families will have a small party. Many photos are taken during this day and the focus is on the 20 year old. After the small party, many of the participants will change into informal clothes and go with their friends to the izakaya, Japanese pub. They go to celebrate reaching the legal drinking age.

There has been a decline in participation of the Coming of Age Ceremonies. Many refuse to buy/rent a furisode or a kimino, which are expensive. Many youths are not in a rush to become adults. There have been times where youths disrupt the ceremonies in protest. Therefore, there is often a police presence during the ceremonies.

It’s interesting to see how everyone rallies together to celebrate the young men and women who turn 20 as a community together.

Hanna

Kotatsu

Hello Everyone!

Now that winter has officially started the weather is a bit more dreary and definitely colder. Winters in Japan can be especially cold. This is where the kotatsu comes in. A kotatsu is by no means a necessity; however, it does seem nice to have one.

7 Tips About Kotatsu to Enjoy Winter in Japan!
Simple Kotatsu

What is a kotatsu? A kotatsu is a short wooden table frame that is covered by a heavy blanket, also known as a futon, with a table top that is then placed on top. Beneath the table top and futon is an electric heat source that is built into the table frame itself. Surrounding the kotatsu are often cushions for people to sit more comfortably or chairs.

Kotatsu Layers

 

The kotatsu’s origins began in the 14th century. It was originally used to cook with a charcoal burner. However, the cooking function is no longer a part of the structure.

During modern times, when the weather gets colder, the kotatsu becomes the center piece of domestic life. Family and friends all gather around the kotatsu to watch TV, play games, and other social activities while keeping warm at the same time.

Family

People can also take short naps, but they should be careful not to touch the electric heater at the bottom. Many times pets will hide underneath seeking the kotatsu’s warmth as well. One of the typical images of a kotatsu is a cat snuggling underneath one.

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Kotatsu with Cat

I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about the kotatsu. Hope everyone stays warm during the winter!

Peace!

Hanna