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The Tradition of Giving Out Nengajo

 

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In Japan, one of the oldest New Year’s tradition is the giving out of nengajo.  A nengajo is a New Year’s postcard sent to friends and relatives very similar to that of Christmas cards sent out in the western world.  It is intended to give tidings to family and friends who are far away, in effect telling them that one is alive and well.

These postcards should be received by the recipients on or before January 1. The Japanese Post Office has its busiest time towards the end buy viagra online of December up to the beginning of January.  Postcards of this nature are stamped with the word “nengajo” so they can be given priority.  The post office guarantees its delivery before the traditional deadline when received within a particular time period.   A family who has a death in the family sends out the mochu hagaki or mourning postcards to inform other family members, as sending out nengajo should not be done at such time in respect for the recently deceased member of the family.

Because of their extreme popularity, ready-made nengajos can be bought from various stores and print shops where senders just need to fill in the name of the addressees.  This is a more practical option especially if one has the intention of sending out a high number of nengajos.  There may be additional spaces provided for personal messages which is always an opportune time to showcase shodo or one’s exceptional handwriting.  Ink brushes are typically used for this purpose.

During the 1950s , nengajos were given an additional feature of being printed with lottery numbers.  The annual draw is held every 15th of January and this caused its sales to further increase.  A more modern presentation can be seen in use by the younger generation wherein nengajos are delivered through email or mobile phone.  However, nothing beats the beauty and elegance of traditional nengajos.

 

 

Haha no hi

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On May 11 of this year, many countries around the world celebrated Mother’s Day. This celebration is something that spans cultures and races all over the world. In Japan, it is known as haha no hi. Though Mother’s Day originates from the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, it was not till after World War II that it was introduced to Japan.

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We all have our own ways of celebrating Mother’s Day and giving honor to the woman who gave us our lives. How do they do it in Japan? Ever since the practice was introduced in the country, the custom was for people to give carnations to mothers. Though some people prefer to give white carnations, as they are thought to symbolize the virtues of motherhood, the color red is preferred in Japan. Of course, many people give other kinds of flowers during this day as well. One thing that is not too common during Mother’s Day is to give cards to mothers, though this is quite an acceptable practice as well.

Another practice for Mother’s Day is for children between the ages of 6 and 14 to enter art contests with their mothers as the subjects of their works of art. This is another way of honoring their mothers. More often than not, an exhibit of these drawings is displayed from one country to another in order to showcase the talent of the children and to give more honor to their mothers.

A lack of news about Princess Masako

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One of the enigma’s facing the Japanese is the situation of Princess Masako.

When Princess Masako married into the Royal Family in 1993, many people (most of them women) considered it as a triumph that could possibly change the way women are seen in Japanese society. Masako is an accomplished and successful woman, a Harvard graduate and a diplomat who can speak a number of languages. She was seen as challenging the traditions of the Imperial household. But this never came to be. tremendous pressure and stress as a royal has actually made her retreat from the public eye. Now, it has been years since Masako has retreated and there are no signs this is going to change.

The most perplexing part though is the lack of information that is being given to the public with regards to her health. This is quite strange for a member of the Imperial household. And the public is beginning to clamor for more news, which does not seem forthcoming.

Mobile phone firms now involved in child safety

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Mobile phone penetration in Japan is one of highest in the world. Because of the very high tech phones that they have, the Japanese have unique problems related to the technology. For example, one of the major concerns of parents is the ability of children to access objectionable websites through their mobile phones.

Mobile phone companies are now trying to help parents with this problem by instituting new policies that give parents more involvement in getting mobile phones. For example, NTT DoCoMo does not allow minors to buy phones for the first time if they do not bring their parents or guardians and check a box in the form that would allow the company to install an internet filtering service to the line.

The National Police Agency reported that crimes emanating from internet dating sites is increasing and that children are very vulnerable to this because of their curiosity.

This is the right move for mobile companies. Their conscious efforts to actually help parents in monitoring their children is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, this becomes a widespread practice in all manner of technologies that affect children.

Baby Hatch

Japan Baby Hatch

Despite much controversy and opposition a hospital at Kumamoto, Kyodo has installed the first ever baby hatch in Japan. The baby hatch is placed in the first floor of the Jikei Hospital and built into the wall. It is accessible outside through a door, which the parents can open to be able to pace the baby on a small specialized bed that maintains the same conditions as an incubator does. The hospital staff is alerted by an alarm and a surveillance camera pointed at the baby’s bed automatically starts capturing images once the door of the hatch is opened.

Taiji Hasuda, the hospital director, says that the baby hatch is a last resort meant to save the lives of babies who would otherwise be left to die. They however hope that parents will instead seek help from the hospital instead of leaving their babies in the hatch.