This Month in Japan | November


“Frost month” or Shimotsuki is the old name for November. This is because in many parts of Japan, frost becomes visible in the mornings and this is the month when colder weather begins to set in.

During this month, there are two national holidays: Culture Day (Bunka no hi) on 11/3 and Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinro kansha no hi) on 11/23. Culture Day is a special day where achievements in culture, the arts, and academic endeavor are recognized. Award ceremonies, festivals, parades, and art exhibitions are part of the celebrations that occur to honor professionals in these fields as well as to maintain local culture traditions in general.

While shichi-go-san on 11/15 is not an observed national holiday, it is a popular day throughout Japan where 7 (shichi) year-old-girls, 5 (go) year-old boys, and 3 (san) year old boys and girls visit shrines wearing traditional clothing. The purpose of the holiday is to celebrate the growth and well-being of children.

 Shichi Go San -Family Portrait

Fun facts:

  • Shimotsuki is also a Japanese surname.
  • Based on the zodiac, it is the month of the dog.
  • Labor and Thanksgiving Day is a time where Japanese people express their thankfulness for employment.

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This Month in Japan | June

Minazuki, the old name for June, means “water month.” Tsuyu, or heavy rainfall season takes place during the months of June and July and lasts about 6 weeks. Ajisai or hydrangeas are the rainy season flower, because they are considered by many to be most beautiful when wet and enshrouded in mist. The rainy season can vary in duration from year to year. Other areas of Japan may be experiencing more humid or overcast weather except Hokkaidō where it is the least affected. Travelers, locals, and visitors can still enjoy their stay in Japan in places such as onsens, mountains, and temples. 

In Japan, there are no official holidays in June. June is the start to many summer festivals and firework events, like the well-known Sanno Matsuri of Hie-jinja Shrine in Akasaka district. It is a parade in Tokyo where people dress in traditional costumes with portable shrines, drums, and horses.
But there are still many festivals during June. The Yosakoi Soran Festival is from June 10-June 14 and is held at the Odori Park (Sapporo). It is a festival that host a Yosakoi dance competition with competitive teams from all around Japan.
Another festival is the Hokkaidō Shrine Festival that is held at Maruyama Park (can vary in dates). It features festive food, temples, shrines, parades, and activities that draws out 1 million people. There are probably visitors, travelers, and locals who are attending this popular event; so, it can be quite crowded.
For a quieter and smaller scale festival, there is the Sanno Festival that occurs in Tokyo. It happens in mid June and there are less people who are involved in it due to traffic complaints in the past. But people can see the parades and visit shrines depending on their individual public time. The parade usually starts at Hie Shrine in the morning and then they continue their way throughout Tokyo.
Sanno Festival Parade Guide


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Introduction to Japanese Lifestyle


Have you ever wonder how other kinds of people live their life on a daily basis? It is a great way to explore and learn a bit more of what life is like from different perspectives. Today’s focus will be on the Japanese lifestyle.

  • Bowing is a prevalant custom in many Asian cultures that shows respect towards others. It is ingrain in people to do so for strangers, elderly, friends, families, and respected people.
  • Slurping while eating noodle dishes is a good sign and it is not considered rude like in other cultures. It shows that you are enjoying your meal.
  • Eating alone at home or at restaurants in Japan is very normal. Although some other people may see as odd, Japanese people see it as having alone time with yourself.
  • There are many Japanese holidays, but some of the most famous ones are Valentine’s Day, Children’s Day, Coming of Age, and Christmas. The Japanese culture has incorporated many influences into their cultures from other Asian and Western cultures.
  • Ever wonder why so much people in Japan wear masks while doing daily tasks? Due to health concerns such as allergy, people wear them to prevent them from getting sick.
  • Karaoke is a fun way to let people’s wall down, have food and drinks, and sing without trying to be a pro. The karaoke entertainment is widely available in many Asian countries because of it’s popularity. It is not uncommon that group of co-workers or friends go out together to karaoke together.
  • In Japan, it is very important to properly address someone based on their position as it is another custom of respect. It can also tell how superior or elderly someone is and how close they are to each other. This type of custom also exsist in other cultures.

These are just a few glimpse into the Japanese lifestyle. There are more customs, traditions, and holidays that the Japanese culture has. The more interested you are about another culture, the more you will learn from them.

Holidays From All Over the World

There are many countries that the U.S. don’t share holidays with and it’s nice to know what we miss out on some of the great things people celebrate from all over the world. Here’s a list of cultural groups that have their own unique holidays.

1. Thailand – Songkran


One of the many celebrations of Songkran involves people splashing each other with water in the hot weather. “Part of the ritual was the cleaning of images of Buddha. Using the ‘blessed’ water that cleaned the images to soak other people is seen as a way of paying respect and bring good fortune.” –

2. Malaysia – Malaysia Day


The holiday day title is literally what the holiday stands for. The people of Malaysia celebrate the day “16 September 1963, when the former British colony of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, joined to create the Federation of Malaysia” – It’s for everyone to take pride of Malaysia and its historical events of the people and country gaining independence.

3. Japan (including other Asian countries) – Childerns’ Day


Yes, there is a national holiday to celebrate children with gifts, food, blessings, and wishes. Also, it is a time when parents pray for the best in health and success for their children.

4. Korea – Hanguel Day

Spectators gather in front of a bronze s

In celebration of the development of Korean alphabets after the colonial rule of Japan. “King Sejong the Great who was the fourth monarch of the Joseon Dynasty, devised and proclaimed the Korean alphabet in the 15th century” – Korea did not develop their own alphabets as early as other cultural groups due to strong influence of the Chinese and Japanese characters.

5. Indonesia (including other Asian countries) – Waisak Day


A national holiday made in name of Buddha’s birthday, death, and enlightenment. A ‘holy day’ for Buddhists monks and Buddhism believers that celebrates the life of Buddha. The holiday allows people to pray, receive or/give blessings, cleanse one soul and mind, make offerings, and display beautiful lights.