Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting ready for the New Year!

Today is 大晦日 (Oomisoka - last day of the year), which is the second most important day in Japan (according to wikipedia, heh heh). The most important day in the Japanese festive calendar is of course お正月 (Oshougatsu - New Year's Day). I spent most of today cleaning and decorating my apartment while watching TV. Haha.

Was at the town center a few days ago to embrace the festivity. People were milling about, doing their last minute New Year shopping and happily spending their money. The Japanese put a lot of thoughts into New Year decorations and related items, and I enjoyed just walking about and taking in the joyous atmosphere.

Decorations for your home. 

Even cakes are ready for the Year of the Rabbit! 

People shopping for their last minute 年賀状 (Nengajou - New Year greeting cards). 

I simply love to ogle at these pretty pretty 年賀状s! 

Ahaha this is so cute! A bunny playing the shamisen on top of Mt Fuji! 

Stickers galore! 

Without a doubt, Japan has the most wonderful stickers in the world! 

More お飾り (Okazari - Decorations) for your home. 
These 玉飾り (Tamakazari - Round decorations) are usually hung at the top of the main door to welcome the gods and ward off negative energy. 

玉飾りs for wealth and fortune! 

門松(Kadomatsu - Gate bamboo) are also placed in front of main entrances of homes, companies and even shopping malls. 
門松outside Marui. The purpose of placing 門松 at the entrance is to welcome ancestral spirits and the harvest gods for a bountiful and prosperous year 

Smaller 門松s for smaller homes. 

I'm sure you have seen these cute white cake-like things before and wondered what they are. 
These are 鏡餅s (Kagami Mochi - Mirror Rice Cakes), a very common New Year decoration for homes. 

Different sizes and prices. 鏡餅s are placed in the homes for good luck and happiness (I supposed). They will be taken down and eaten after New Year. Just pop them into the oven toaster!  

The 鏡餅 corner at the Hypermart near my home. 

I couldn't resist it and bought one 鏡餅 among other decos for my first New Year spent in Japan. 

Kiirotori looks pleased with it. 

And I'm gonna use these as Chinese New Year greeting cards! Hee hee! 

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