How We Spend New Year’s Eve in Japan

How We Spend New Year’s Eve in Japan

What do you usually do on New Year’s Eve? Does your family have something special to do for the New Year? Maybe you have a party at the bar or your friend’s house, or you may spend time with your family. In Japan, the way of spending time on New Year’s Eve is pretty different from the American way.

In the morning, we Japanese people clean the whole house. This process is called Ousouji in Japan. This doesn’t mean that Japanese people clean the house only once a year. There is a special meaning for this cleaning. Its purpose is to welcome the New Year and to wish a better life than the former year. Cleaning the house, which is covered with annual dust, is a really important way to start a new year.

After finishing Ousouji, women start cooking Osechi. This is a traditional Japanese dish which is eaten a few days after the New Year. The dish is based on fish, beans, and egg. We eat Osechi because there is an old story saying one shouldn’t use a cooking knife within three days from the New Year. This gives a break to the mother who cooks every day.

While women are cooking Osechi, men are hanging Shimenawa, which is a kind of decoration made from rice stems. It is hung on the front door. This custom comes from the farmer’s wish to have a good harvest next year. Today, we wish for good fortune and a good year.

Evening time, after we finish preparing for New Year’s, we normally watch a TV program called Singing Battle Between the Red and the White Team. It has been on the air for about 50 years and keeps over 50 percent of the audience’s ratings every year. We think about this program as a part of a closing moment of the year.

While, or after watching singing battle, we eat Toshikoshi Soba, which means “New Year’s Eve Noodle” in English. As you know, the noodle is long, so we wish longer life, including healthy body, by eating Toshikoshi Soba.

Finally, the last thing to do for New Year’s Eve is to listen to Juya No Kane, which means “the watch-night bell” in English. This bell is like a countdown in America. But we ring it 108 times. This tradition comes from the thought of Buddhism. The idea of this tradition is to hit away poorness, doubt, selfishness, unhappiness, and so on.

In conclusion, Japanese New Year’s Eve starts from cleaning house, cooking Osechi, putting Shimenawa, watching singing battle, eating noodle, and ends up with listening to the Juya No Kane. If we don’t do these things, we feel like we can’t celebrate the New Year. New Year’s Eve is a very important moment for Japanese people not only to prepare for the New Year, but also to look back upon our life from the past year.

Poems – A Humble Advice – Rekha Mandagere

Look at the glowing golden Sun
Brightens up the world with radiant beam
Never stops his shine even for fun
Ever stands as a leader of the team
Feeling the radiance of his lovely hues
My heart is filled with greater joys
The light rays said in lovely voice
Roads to reach the goals are hard
Never think from it a yard
Life is not a funny game
Every moment is challenge to tame
Wisely choose the future road
Expand your horizon much more broad
But you are my only lovely son
Born to reach the height of the sun
Patience is the key to win
Tolerance will take you far from sin
Always keep the spirits up
Success would surely round you up!

Poems – Honour my feelings – Rekha Mandagere

I really become dumb
Sometimes when I feel
The beam that I follow
Has no boundary
To measure the gravity of
Honest feelings and thoughts
Which are as fresh as dews
That are specially woven
By the delicate threads of even
Enchanting nature’s new shades
Out rightly banned from lifeless
Artificial, false, pale touches
But much closer to the levels
Divine and eclectic
But this thing of beauty
Which sometimes acts naughty
But I earnestly plead
For you to know me well
And feel the nicety beyond words
Which are often touching and real
Never goes once mechanical!

Women in World History

After reading the works of Hughes and Hughes, Ward, and Pomeroy, it seems as though all the information is congruent in the readings. The facts presented in Hughes and Hughes that also exist in the works by Pomeroy and Ward. The repetition solidifies the facts as stated by all three authors. The reoccurrence between the three pieces shows similarities. The similarities show the reader the strength of the information. Women of ancient Egypt had some of the same rights as men, they could rule as long as they showed some masculine traits to help the people understand why they were in power.

In Ward and Pomeroy’s texts, there is information that the Egyptian women had the same legal rights as the Egyptian men. “The women of the family could not only administer the family property, but could also dispute legal decisions and be major litigants defending what they conceived to be their rights of inheritance” (Ward 7). The women of ancient Egypt were able to accomplish a lot on their own. It was possible for fathers to leave property to their daughters in their wills so that the daughter could be self sufficient, should the need arise. A wife could even help run the estate with her husband. Women were also allowed to attend parties where men were present. This was an uncommon practice that women of ancient times were not allowed to do, the women would have to leave the room. Traditionally women were not allowed to be seen in the presence of a group of men, except in the case of the women of ancient Egypt.

Aside from social privileges, women were also granted economic privileges. Traditionally a wife would be dependent upon her husband for economic support, however the women of ancient Egypt were not completely dependent.

Should a divorce take place, the legal system moved in to assure a fair settlement….First, the husband and wife each took back whatever property they had contributed at the time of marriage. Second, any additional property that had accrued during the marriage was divided between them: two-thirds to the husband, one-third to the wife. In this way, the woman became financially independent, did not have to return to her own family, and might even be considered a good prospect for a second marriage (Ward 7).

The division of property was important because the women were allowed to have their own lives after marriage. Ancient Egyptian women were not a complete dependant on their husbands, she could own her own property, and she could make money on her own. Independent women could survive in ancient Egypt.

One of the most famous characters of ancient Egypt was a woman Pharaoh by the name of Cleopatra VII, commonly known today as Cleopatra. Cleopatra became queen when she was just eighteen years old, and all it took for her to be queen was to marry her ten year old brother, Ptolemy XIII. In order to rule in a male dominated society, there needed to be a male sitting on the throne. It was not necessary for a female to share the throne. She was allowed to rule until her brother matured enough to take over the throne, by the time that her brother was deemed ready to take the throne, Cleopatra VII had arranged a successful administration and she raised an army to fight her brother for the throne. At that time, Caesar was gaining power. During a trip to Egypt, he told Cleopatra and her brother to share the responsibilities of the throne. After the death of her brother Ptolemy XIII, who died in battle, Cleopatra had to marry her other brother Ptolemy XIV, who was eleven at the time. Thus, she could maintain her power. Cleopatra was considered a very shrewd ruler, she knew how to manipulate people to do what she wanted and she knew how to maintain her power until she was forced to commit suicide. “When her handmaiden Charmion described Cleopatra’s death perfectly as ‘fitting for the descendant of so many kings,’ she used the masculine form of the Greek word for ‘descendant’” (Pomeroy 28). The manner of her death was very important to the people of ancient Egypt due to the masculine image their female rulers presented. Another instance is Hatshepsut, who reigned from about 1473 BCE to 1458 BCE and when she ruled “she was publicly portrayed as male. Male pronouns were used and statues depicted her with a beard and dressed in a male kilt, although with breasts. Evidently she had to become a cross-dresser on official occasions. This engendering a female ruler as male is frequently found in societies when female political authority is an anomaly” (Hughes and Hughes 29). In both instances, the female rulers had to show some form of masculinity due to the nature in which they ruled. This masculine image is an explanation for how well they did in power as if the people of ancient Egypt saw their female rulers as males.

The women needed to show that they had the ability to control their own destiny, they could own land, they could go to court and fight for what was theirs, and they could even rule a country. The women of ancient Egypt had some freedoms that were not given to many other women of the same time period. All three authors have the same central opinion and facts in their texts. While women of ancient Egypt had some freedoms, they still had to conform to what the ancient Egyptian society wanted in order to rule effectively.

English Poem – Part In Peace: Is Day Before Us? – Sarah Flower Adams

Part in peace: is day before us?
Praise His Name for life and light;
Are the shadows lengthening o’er us?
Bless His care Who guards the night.

Part in peace: with deep thanksgiving,
Rendering, as we homeward tread,
Gracious service to the living,
Tranquil memory to the dead.

Part in peace: such are the praises
God our Maker loveth best;
Such the worship that upraises
Human hearts to heavenly rest.


English Poem – When You Love Someone – Vanessa Hernandez

When you love someone so deep inside,
It seems like it’s so easy to hide.
You’ve loved him for so very long,
You would think he could do no wrong.

Every day you would hope and pray,
That he would always stay this way.
He treated you like you should be treated,
You thought your life was finally completed.

You thought your love was growing true,
And then one day it was all so blue.
He started putting you down and it hurt,
You thought all you were to him was dirt.

He started ignoring you and you wondered why,
All you wanted to do was curl up and die.
You thought your relationship would never end,
But that was all so fake and pretend.

One night he was so sweet to you,
You thought all those things were maybe untrue,
Two days later he was back the same,
You thought you were the one to blame.

He thought the relationship was getting too serious
And that you had become a little too curious.
By this time you knew it wouldn’t last,
All the nice things he said were in the past.

You thought that you would marry him some day,
But this time God wanted to get his way.
You wanted things back how they were before,
But you knew this couldn’t happen anymore.

It was a Saturday night about ten o’clock,
You heard the news and it wasn’t a shock.
You knew this was going to happen soon,
As you laid there and cried in the pale lit moon.

Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

maya angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Seasonal Cycle – Summer – Kalidasa

Chapter 01

“Oh, dear, this utterly sweltering season of the highly rampant sun is drawing nigh, and it will always be good enough to go on taking daytime baths, as the lakes and rivers will still be with plenteous waters, and at the end of the day, nightfall will be pleasant with fascinating moon, and in such nights Love-god can somehow be almost mollified…[who tortured us in the previous vernal season… but now without His sweltering us, we can happily enjoy the nights devouring cool soft drinks and dancing and merrymaking in outfields…]

“Oh, beloved one, somewhere the moon shoved the blackish columns of night aside, somewhere else the palace-chambers with water [showering, sprinkling and splashing] machines are highly exciting, and else where the matrices of gems, [like coolant pearls and moon-stone, etc.,] are there, and even the pure sandalwood is liquefied [besides other coolant scents,] thus this season gets an adoration from all the people…

“The beloved ones will enjoy the summer’s clear late nights while they are atop the rooftops of buildings that are delightful and fragranced well, while they savour the passion intensifiers like strong drinks and while the ladylove’s face suspires the bouquets of those drinks together with melodious instrumental and vocal music…

“The women are ameliorating the heat of their lovers with their chicly silken coolant fineries gliding onto their rotund fundaments, for they are knotted loosely, and on those silks glissading are their golden cinctures with their dangling tassels that are unfastened on and off, and with their buxom bosoms that are bedaubed with sandal-paste and semi-covered with pearly strings and golden lavalieres, and with their locks of hair that are sliding onto their faces, which locks are fragrant with bath-time emulsions, which are just applied before their oil bath…

“Brightly coloured with the reddish foot-paint that is akin to the colour of lac’s reddish resin, adorned with anklets that are festooned with jingling bells, whose tintinnabulations on their stepping after stepping mimic the clucks of swans, with such feet those women with bumpy behinds are rendering the hearts of people impassioned, in these days of pre-summer…

“These days the bosoms of womenfolk are bedaubed with scents and sandal-paste, and they are given out to snowily and whitely pearly pendants that are sported on those bosoms, and even their hiplines are with the dangling golden griddle-strings, with such a lovely ostentation whose heart is it, that does not fill with raptures…

“The seams of limbs of ladies of age are conquered by the often emerging sweat, thus those peaky bosomed lustful ladies are presently banding their bosoms with softish fineries, casting aside their roughish apparels …

“The rustles of air comprising the aroma of watered sandal-paste, blown off by the fans with peacocks’ plumage, and the rustle of strings of pearls when the roundish bosoms of loves are hugged, together with the subtle melody of string instruments, and subtly sung intonations of singers, now appear to awaken Love-god, Manmatha, who is as though asleep after his manoeuvres in the last spring season…

“On leisurely seeing the faces of the maids that are comfortably sleeping well on the tops of whitish edifices, the moon of these nights is highly ecstasized, for he is unpossessed with any such flawless face, as his own face is flawed with rabbit-like, deer-like foibles, and when the night dwindles, he doubtlessly goes into state of pallidity, as though ashamed to show his face to the flawless sun…

“The intolerable westerly wind of the summer is up-heaving the clouds of dust, even the earth is ablaze, set by the blazing sun, and the itinerants whose hearts are already put to blaze by the blazing called the detachment from their ladyloves, and now it has become impossible for them even to look at the blazing earth, to tread further…

“The reigning sun’s torridity rendered the animals parched, and with unquenchable thirst highly shrivelled are their tongues, throats and lips, and on seeing kneaded blackish mascara like mirages on the sky in another forest, that are cloudlike in their shine, those animals are rushing there, presuming them to be water…

“The women of charm are with smiles and slanted looks, and now they are on par with the twilights that are ornamented with a beautiful ornament called moon, and they are now decorating themselves confusedly and they are inciting the incorporeal Love-god in the hearts of itinerants…

“Extremely seared by the rays of sun, and even by the already seared dust on the pathway, with its slithery motion and downcast hood, repeatedly suspiring when being scalded thus awfully, that serpent is sinking down under the pave of peacock’s plumage, distrait of the fact that a peacock is an enemy of serpents, thus distrait is the relative danger from a born enemy or from the searing summer…

“Thwarted are the valorousness and venturesomeness of that king of animals, the lion, for the thirst is abnormal, thereby gaping his mouth much lengthily, and suspiring repeatedly with a lengthened and dangling tongue, and repeatedly whisking his frontal hair of the mane, that lion is not pawing the elephants, though they are at his nearby, and though they both of them are born rivals, thus the scalding summer cooled off their mutual contempt…

“Verily dried up are their throats, but somehow some cool water remaining in their trunks is brought to those dry throats with the prehensility of their trunks, but too scanty is that water for those mega-vores, further muchly scorched by sun’s scorching rays and overpowered by heightened thirst, even those water-seeking tuskers are unafraid of those nearby lions, as negligible is the physical danger than the natural danger…

“The scorching sunrays that are akin to the tongues of blazed up Ritual-fire, by them the bodies as well as the souls of peacocks are wilted, thus they wedge their faces in the pack of their plumage for certain coolness, and though they mark the serpents that are milling about under the very same plumage through the plumes and feathers, they peck not those serpents to death, as their priority is to cool off their faces and heads…

“The slime in the ponds is dried up but in some areas Bhadramusta grass is available, and while the herd of wild boars is digging up that grass with their long and broad snouts for a piggish slumber, the sunrays have highly sweltered their backs, but that herd dug the dry swamp more and more, as though to enter the interior of earth, to get a mucky, miry, muddy slumber…

“With the unbearable prickly heat of sunrays highly seared is a frog, and jumping up from a pond with mud and muddy water, it jumped to sit under the shade of a parasol, called the hood of a snake… neither thirstier frog is aware that it is the shade of a snake’s hood, nor the thirstiest snake is aware that it is shading a thirsty frog…

“When each other elephant is highly huddling, belaboured is that lake by their elephantine limbs, and completely uprooted are the tall slender stems of lilies and lotuses of that lake, without any remnants of standing lotuses or lilies, thus trampled and agglutinated with mud, they are heaped up under the feet of elephants, and ill-fated are the fishes when trodden by elephants underfoot, and the Saarasa waterfowls are fleeing with fear of this rumpus…

“Akin to sunshine upcast is irradiance of the jewel on its hood, and wigwagging is its twinned tongue licking the air, and it is seared by its own venom, by fiery soil, and by the searing sun as well, and thus tottering thirstily, that hooded serpent is not draining the dregs of frogs, to the dregs…

“Frothily gaping and reeling are the two-pieced snouts, and jerkily extruding are the lightly reddened tongues, and staggering thirstily looking for water with upraised snouts, those herds of she-buffalos are extruding from the caves of mountain with such snouts and gaits, wherein they took shade from the scorching sun so far, but thirst drove them out of those cool caves…

“Extremely withered as though by wildfire and utterly shrivelled are the tender stalks of crops, and windswept by harsh winds they are uprooted and completely wilted and reduced to straw, and all over scorched are they in an overall manner as the water is evaporated, and if seen from highlands till the end of forest, this summer is foisting upon the onlookers a kind of disconcert, as the straw in the wind about the monsoon is unnoticeable…

“Perching on the trees with wilted leaves, flocks of birds are hyperventilating, the overtired troops of monkeys are going nigh of viny caves on the mountain, the water-craving herds of buffalos are rambling hither and thither, the straight flying Sharabha birds are nose-diving into wells and easily lifting up the water…

“The wildfire, that is simulative of a just blossomed bright and fierily ochreish safflower, is exceedingly speedy and further whipped up by the speed of the wind it is eagerly embracing the treetops, that are on the banks of lakes and rivers, with tongues of fire, onto which trees the apices of climber plants are eager to embrace, thus that wildfire has burnt down every quarter of land, in a trice…

“That wildfire, now intensified by the gusts, is blazing the valleys of mountains, and thus skittering across it entered the stands of bamboos, only to shatter them in a second with clattering rattles, then escalated by gusts it is overspreading the straw fields, then from their within, on smacking the perimeter of straw-field, it is broiling the herds of deer, tumultuously …

“That wildfire taking a rebirth in the copses of silk-cotton trees is extremely blazing, and from within the cavities of the trees it is erupting with the glint of golden yellow, and thus uprooting the wizened leaves on wizened branches along with their trees, and then hurled by gusts it is whirling everywhere in that woodland unto its edging…

“When fire scorched their bodies, their dichotomic thinking of mutual hostilities had to be discarded, and those elephants, buffalos and lions come together as friends, and when blighted by the fire, they are quickly exiting their habitual confines to enter the areas of rivers that have broad sandbanks…

“Oh, dear melodious singer, what if the summer is scorching… fragrant lotuses are overlaid on coolant waters, agreeably refreshing is the fragrance of Trumpet flowers, comfortable is the fresh water in bathing pools, pleasurable are those moonbeams, and with these pearly pendants and these jasmine garlands, let our simmering summer nights enjoyably slip by, while we abide on the tops of buildings right under the moonscape, savouring potations and amidst music and song…

Calm is all nature as a resting wheel – William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth 1770-1850   Cumberland / England

William Wordsworth
Cumberland / England

Calm is all nature as a resting wheel.
The kine are couched upon the dewy grass;
The horse alone, seen dimly as I pass,
Is cropping audibly his later meal:
Dark is the ground; a slumber seems to steal
O’er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky.
Now, in this blank of things, a harmony,
Home-felt, and home-created, comes to heal
That grief for which the senses still supply
Fresh food; for only then, when memory
Is hushed, am I at rest. My Friends! restrain
Those busy cares that would allay my pain;
Oh! leave me to myself, nor let me feel
The officious touch that makes me droop again.

O Never Say That I Was False of Heart – William Shakespeare

O never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem’d my flame to qualify:
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie;

That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.

Never believe, though in my nature reign’d
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain’d
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good:

For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose: in it thou art my all.