Happy 2020! This year has us already buzzing with excitement as Nobel Laureate, Professors Higgs will be featuring at the ILC Symposium (remotely) in Tokyo next month and the Tokyo Summer Olympics will be commencing in July! And, in other news, foreign language studies will be made compulsory from grade 3 at elementary school and plastic bags will not be given out for free at the register anymore.

To kick off the year, I’d like to share how my friends and I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in and around the ILC candidate site through some visuals.

Join us as we venture to UNESCO World Heritage site, Motsuji in Hiraizumi (Iwate Prefecture). Here we experience some traditional Japanese New Year’s Eve and New Year’s customs such as ‘toshikoshi soba’ (an auspicious noodle-dish eaten on NYE), Joya no Kane (a Buhddist ritual to remove the 108 worldly desires that mislead the body and soul) and ‘hatsumode’ (the first temple/shrine visit of the year).





On New Year’s morning, we set out for the port city of Kesennuma (Miyagi Prefecture) which neighbors Ichinoseki (Iwate Prefecture) for ‘hatsuhinode’ which is the tradition of watching the first sunrise of the year.

After staying up and driving around in the early hours of the morning, it’s time to feast on some ‘osechi ryori’. Osechi ryori are traditional foods enjoyed on New Year’s Day. Each of the delicately crafted dishes represent special wishes for the year and are packed into jubako, which look like bento boxes.

Dishes that often accompany osechi ryori include ‘mochi’ (sticky rice cake) and a soup called ‘ozoni’. Eating mochi is something that the locals in Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi are especially familiar with as it’s deeply embedded into the culture of the area –we can’t start the New Year without a piece or two!

The New Year period spans over many days (from Dec 29th ~ Jan 3rd); if you’re lucky like this year and connect the weekends, that’s a nine day holiday! To explore more on how people spend their time during this extended period of time, check out Anna’s article (https://www.iwate-ilc.jp/eng/ktimes/new-years-in-japan/).








おせち料理は、お正月にいただく伝統的な食べ物です。 繊細に作られた食品の品揃えは、新年に関連した特別な意味を持ち、弁当箱のように見える重箱に詰められています。

人によりますが、お正月休みは数日間に渡ります(私たちの場合は通常12月29日~1月3日の6日間)。年によっては(カレンダーの曜日のめぐり合わせによっては)、今年のように週末につなげると9連休となります。 お正月についてもっと詳しく知りたい方は、K-TIMESバックナンバー(2019.2.21アンナさん作成記事)を御覧ください。