The New Year is always one of the most celebrated holidays all over the world no matter what the culture. Most people know about the Chinese New Year, which is different from the Western New Year. The Japanese New Year, or shogatsu, on the other hand, is celebrated at the same time the Western New Year is. From January 1 to January 3, all businesses are closed all over the country and families take the time out to spend these days with each other.
Parties are held, not only to welcome the coming year, but to forget the past year. These parties are called bonenkai, or “year forgetting parties.” Decorations usually involve plum trees, pine, and bamboo. The traditional food for New Year’s Eve is buckwheat noodles or toshikoshi soba. These noodles symbolize longevity.
Recently, a tradition has emerged which involves watching a music show called kohaku uta gassen. This TV program showcases the most popular J-pop and enka singers.