New Year’s

Happy New Year from the RocketNews24 Team!

As 2013 comes to a close, all of us at RocketNews24 have been taking time to reflect on the past 12 months. We’ve gone through a lot of changes as a site and staff and we’re all so grateful for our steadily growing readership. Most of all, we’re proud to have brought you an entire year’s worth of funny, interesting, and at times downright crazy news from Japan and Asia. Looking back, 2013 was our biggest year yet and we hope for your continued support of our small site of translator/writers who just can’t get enough of Japan.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2014 and thanks for being the best bunch of readers our humble site could ever hope for! Here’s to a wonderful new year filled with even more dancing Tokyo granniesotter handshakes, and Mr. Sato adventures…and of course a bit of Japanese language and culture sprinkled in for good measure!

Love always and forever,

The RocketNews24 Team

Image: 58 Pic

How most Japanese people spend their New Year’s: eating nonstop at home 【Poll】

How will you be spending New Year’s Eve this year? Celebrating with family or friends? Watching a countdown on TV? Sleeping, oblivious to the world and perfectly happy about it? Here’s what Japanese respondents on one online poll said they’re be doing when the ball drops, the clock strikes twelve, and the temple bells are rung 108 times.

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【Thursday Throwback】7 reasons New Year’s is the best time to experience Japan

Christmas is less than a week away and I’m sure many of you in the Americas and Europe are looking forward to a (hopefully) relaxing day spent with family, good food and, of course, presents.

Here in Japan, Christmas seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year, but the flavor of the holiday is probably much different than it is abroad. For example, Christmas was originally popularized here as a holiday for couples to have a special night out in the city: have dinner at a fancy restaurant, exchange gifts and then spend the night together ‘celebrating’ at a hotel.

While still viewed as a ‘lover’s holiday’, Christmas has since spread to the household, with many families feasting on the now-traditional Japanese Christmas foods of cake and—thanks to an incredibly successful marketing campaign by KFC—fried chicken.

But for most Japanese families, the real holiday spirit is felt during the time around New Years. In fact, New Years is probably to Japan what Christmas is to the US and other Western countries.

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Cha-Ching! Kids in Japan Receive Up to $1,500 During New Year’s

Happy New Year!  Here’s a fist full of cash!

In Japan, there are many interesting New Year’s traditions. Aside from watching TV all night, risking your life eating mochi, and indulging in a ton of specially prepared food, those lucky enough to be young receive money.

Otoshidama, roughly translated as “New Year’s gift,” is the act of giving children small, decorated envelopes filled with money during New Year’s. Parents, relatives, and close friends usually give Otoshidama to children in elementary school to high school.

After collecting envelopes full of money from their closest adult relatives and friends, these kids make out like bandits. But just how much are these kids hauling in? The Benesse Corporation conducted a survey of elementary school children to find out.

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【Japanese Culture】The Meaning Behind Osechi Ryori: Traditional New Year’s Food in Japan

Much like Christmas in many western countries, New Year’s is a time for family in Japan.  No ball drops and champagne popping over here, just time spent with family huddled under the kotatsu, eating mikan and watching New Year’s specials on TV.  There are many New Year’s traditions in Japan, but the most delicious tradition is the eating of osechi ryori, special food eaten to give thanks and wish for happiness and prosperity in the new year.

Osechi ryori is characterized by an array of colorful dishes packed together in special boxes called jubako, which are eaten communally on New Year’s Day. Since New Year’s is a time for rest in Japan (according to tradition, nothing should be cooked on New Year’s Day), preparation of osechi ryori is typically finished before New Year’s Eve.  Many of the dishes are either dried or contain a lot of sugar or vinegar to preserve the food and enough is made to last a few days.

Osechi ryori is arguably the most important meal of the year, each dish serving as a symbol or wish for the coming year. The food is even eaten in a special way by using chopsticks that are rounded on both ends; one side for humans to use, one side for the gods.  Let’s take a look at the meanings behind some of the traditional osechi ryori foods.

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A Very PokeChristmas: Pokemon Center Announces 2012 Christmas and New Year’s Goods

Pokemon Christmas and New Year’s goods will soon be on sale at all seven of Japan’s official Pokemon Center stores.  Pokemon Christmas goods will be released on October 27 followed by Pokemon New Year’s goods on November 3.

Here’s a sneak peak!

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