10 interesting traditions of Japan

1. Bonenkai Parties
Bonenkai are Japanese office parties held in December. The term literally means "forget the year party." Most companies hold at least one. In many cases they are held at the company, department and team levels. People also have bonenkai with friends. All of these parties make it difficult to get reservations at popular izakaya in December.
 
2. Fukusasa Lucky Bamboo Branches
Several shrines in Japan hold a market to sell bamboo branches decorated with lucky items to local business people in January. The biggest of these events, the Toka Ebisu Festival in Osaka attracts more than a million people. Armies of Miko are hired to decorate the branches known as Fukusasa.
 
3. Yamayaki Mountain Burning
The Japanese language has a single word for burning down a mountain: yamayaki. A yamayaki is a festival that involves burning the vegetation from a mountain before Spring. These can be visually stunning and are often combined with a fireworks show. Various stories are used to explain how the tradition began including ancient land disputes and problems with wild boars.
 
4. Mochi Making
Mochi are rice cakes traditionally made by pounding a variety of rice known asmochigome with a large wooden mallet. The result is a paste that's formed into shapes such as blocks. Mochi are an ingredient in a wide variety of simple foods and are extremely popular. Much like bread, it's rare to meet someone who doesn't like mochi.Factory produced mochi and mochi-making home appliances are widely available. However, many families enjoy making it the traditional way for special occasions such as New Years.
 
5. Bowing
Bowing is an important tradition in Japan that applies to a wide variety of situations from sports to weddings. They vary from slight bows when greeting a friend to a rare deep kowtow for a profound apology.
 
6. Floating Lanterns
The Japanese tradition of floating lanterns in rivers, known as Toro Nagashi is a ceremony that represents the journey of souls to the afterlife. It's used to celebrate the Japanese Obon holiday, a time of year when it's believed that the spirits of loved ones return to the world. Toro Nagashi ceremonies are also used to commemorate tragic events such as the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima.
 
7. Seiza Sitting Pose
Seiza is a traditional way to sit on Japanese tatami floors. It's considered the appropriate way to sit at formal occasions such as rituals at a Shinto Shrine. It's also widely used in Japanese martial arts where posture may be strictly corrected. The average person finds seiza challenging to hold for long periods of time. Older people and anyone who isn't practiced at it find it extremely difficult and are typically forgiven if they need to sit with their legs in front of them.
 
8. Dondo Yaki
Dondo Yaki is the tradition of burning lucky items such as Omikuji at Shinto Shrines in January. It's considered bad form to throw luck items in the trash, instead they should be burned. Auspicious items sold by shrines are often decorated with the Japanese zodiac symbol of the current year and it's thought to be bad luck to hold on to them after the year ends.
 
9. Summer Yukata
Yukata are inexpensive traditional cotton robes that are widely worn to summer matsuri in Japan. They are worn by both men and women and help to give events a festive feel. Tourist and travelers can try on these festive Yukatas in there Japan visits by renting Yukatas or Kimonos. Recomended stores are from Wargo group with thousands of Yukatas to chose from. 
 
10. ”Irasshaimase” greeting
Wondering what the loud greeting from staff whenever you enter a Japanese company or shops or restaurants means? It is “Irasshaimase”- a traditional way to welcome customers in Japan that's essentially an ultra-polite way to say "please come in." It's made by staff in Japan when they first see a customer. Staff at busy locations such as department stores might say it thousands of times a day, each time a customer passes. Most Japanese businesses take this welcoming phase quite seriously. Staff who welcome customers with an apathetic tone may be disciplined. As a customer, you do not need to reply to irasshaimase.
 

By Nguyễn Oanh on Nov 25, 2015 5:18:29 PM

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