Japanese new year

It is month of December so all over Japan there are preparations for Japanese New Year.
This annual and traditional festival is celebrated according to Gregorian calendar, on January 1st of each year. The Kadomatsu is a traditional decoration of the New Year holiday.


During new year celebrations, Japanese people eat special dishes called “osechi-ryon” or shortened as “osechi”, that includes boiled seaweed, fish cakes, mashed sweet potato with chestnut, simmered burdock root, and sweetened black soybeans.
There are different types of osechi and it differs region to region.Nowadays sashimi, sushi, and other non- Japanese food are often eaten too.

Even with the rise in popularity of emails, Japanese have a popular custom of sending New Year’s Day postcards to their friends and relatives. Addressing is generally done by hand to reveal their talent of shodo http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/428917617.html

Otoshidama, giving money to children, is another custom of Japanese New Year. It is handed in small decorated envelopes called “ pochibukuro”. The amount of money usually depends on the age of the child. It is similar to our custom of giving money to children in Eid (Muslim religious festival or Holiday). That’s one of the reasons that children wait for this type of festivals more than elders and are usually happier.
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Making and eating rice cakes http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/428639527.html; writing poems about every first thing of the year like first sun, first sunrise, and first dream; and kite flying are also part of the custom.
This will be my first new year in Japan, thus I want to know more about the customs and enjoy each of them.

By: Ateffa Jalali
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Kagura Dance

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Kagura is a Japanese word referring to a specific type of Shinto theatrical dance. The epic Kojiki and Nihonshoki describe a folklore origin for this dance.Based on the epics, Kagura dance involves storytelling and reenactment of fables of a famous legendary tale about the sun goddess Amaterasu, who hided in the cave and made the world dark and cold.

Basically there are many types of kagura like Imperial kagura and Folk Kagura. Folk Kagura includes Miko kagura, Izumo-ryu Kagura, Ise-ryu Kagura, Shisi Kagura, and Daikagura. Originally kagura started as a sacred dance performed by shrine maidens, however nowadays, it is like a living tradition in special occasions.
In this energetic dance, the dancers wear horrifying costumes and masks. It is usually performed by villagers of different ages rather than professional dancers.
In different ceremonies these performances are done by dance groups from various local communities.
I have watched many videos of this cultural and religious dance, but I want to watch it live one day.

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By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 09:50 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Miyazaki International Festival

Friends of the world

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those difference. (Audre Lorde)
Miyazaki International Festival, held on 21st November, was a festival of celebrating the cultures of foreigners living in Miyazaki Prefecture. One of the great things about living in Japan is their acceptance of multicultural variances and their respect toward foreigners’ religion, principles, and all other differences. The activities included 10th Annual art Festival, Japanese speech contest for foreign residents, Miyazaki Tea booth, Japanese practice sessions, JICA International Cooperation booth, Country booths and Japanese armor booth.


Country Booths

In country booths, foreigners living in Miyazaki Prefecture were assigned at booths to represent their home countries. Every booth displayed a bit of their culture and traditions. I am sure they must have felt like being in their own country for one day. The colors of hanged flags and happy faces of its nation made the festival highly attractive.
To be honest I wasn’t that attached to my country’s flag when I was in Afghanistan, but now when I see it in Japan, it gives me a feeling of finding a beloved thing that I belong to. The small girl is wearing Afghani dress and his father is also wearing traditional clothes of Afghanistan.


Here is the Namasti team of India. Ofcourse you could get it from their beautiful costumes, Sari. Not only Indians, but also Japanese girls also wore Sari. It makes me very happy to see such a peaceful and friendly international gatherings!

Also, Korean booth displayed Korean Kimono called “Hanbok”, the traditional Korean dress.

Indonesian students displayed their talent through singing performance using a musical instrument called “Anklung”, made from bamboo. They are wearing traditional clothes from different Indonesian islands like Java and Sumatra. The black and maroon dresses are called “Kebaya”, red and yellow dress is called “Baju Bodo”, and the man was wearing “Beskab”.


Japanese Armor Booth
In this booth, visitors could try samurai armor and take pictures. Many of them even look like real samurais except for their happy faces ;)


Posted by: Ateffa Jalali
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Free Paper Magazine Award 2015

Michikusa Magazine, the first prize winner!

Free paper magazine award 2015, that was organized by NICOA (Nippon Community Contents Association) and special sponsor was Marugotonippon Company, is drawing mass media attention towards it.
This event was supported by Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries co., Ltd, Tourism Agency, Japan Travel and Tourism Association.
Last year, Free paper magazine award had 238 magazines as participants, however this year there were 276 magazines including the local government public relations magazines and tourist information magazines and Michikusa magazine was honored by first prize award.

I am feeling proud to be part of Ai-road Company that is owner of Michikusa magazine. I as a witness can say that Ms. Eiko Fukunaga, President of Ai-road Company and writer of Michikusa Magazine is struggling day and night to increase readers’ love and admiration for Michikusa, thus she completely deserves to be honored with this award. We hope that Michikusa will always be loved and appreciated.



Post by: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 14:45 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Fishing experience in Aburatsu port


On 23rd November I attended Nichinan city festival with my husband http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/429902613.html and we went to cruise and fishing in Aburatsu port. The cruise was awesome, and the weather was just right for it. Nature sounds were a little bit interrupted with the sound of the ship, but still I could hear them and it was giving me quiet and peaceful feeling.
The funny part, that makes it even more memorable, is we didn’t catch a fish, but as it is said there is no losing in fishing, you either catch or you learn.
Fishing is not just about catching a fish. It teaches to be patient, keep trying, and never give up.
Indeed, every new experience we try we actually make a new memory.
I always wanted to have small adventures and new experiences but maybe I didn’t find opportunities good enough to fulfill them.
I feel lucky I found a life partner who is more adventurous than me. Now every new experience of my life is double fun!

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 08:52 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする



Miyazaki style of archery

This style of archery is famous in Miyazaki and Obi Nichinan in which a short bow is used with the archer shooting from a sitting position. Unlike other archery styles, the distance to the target is almost 8.2 meters and the bow is also quite short, while the arrows are remarkably long. Nowadays Shihan-mato is known as a leisure activity and mostly performed in Obi Castle.
I experienced this amazing yet very difficult archery in the festival of life experiences in Nichinan city http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/429902613.html. It was quiet interesting, but it needed enough practice to hit the target. However, my husband hit the target in his first try and our instructor encouraged him by the sound of drum. Overall, it was fun trying Miyazaki style of archery. I recommend to try it at least once when you visit Japan.

By: Ateffa Jalali

posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 09:06 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする



A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.

(William Arthur Ward)

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I live in a country where I don’t know the language well. I do face some difficulties and I am trying to learn it, but there is something I don’t need google translation to help me with. I pass from the street and I look out at the people, they smile and I smile back. It is surprising I meet a Japanese women every day while waiting for the buss and yet we haven’t stopped by to talk or even ask each other’s names but we smile. Is that merely a smile? I would say no, We actually talk through it. We make each other sure that we are kind, caring, we can feel comfortable and much more. Thus, a warm smile is actually the language of kindness and every one automatically looks better when they smile!

So start every day with a smile and keep smiling!!


By: Ateffa Jalali

posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 11:47 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Do you dream with open eyes or closed?


Dreams are the most complicated and mysterious part of our life. We dream every night but yet have thousands of questions about it!
Why are some dreams more real than others?!
When we cry in our dreams why do our eyes get wet in real?
Why can’t we escape, shout or move sometimes?
Some dreams of mine are so real that it takes a few minutes to think was it a memory or a dream?! But whatever it is, I love my dreams. A good dream has the power of making me smile the whole day.
Indeed, dreams are the most beautiful part of our lives, but real dreams are done with an open eye. A real dream is a goal you set for your life and if you are dreaming of getting the stars and you miss it, you will at least take a handful of clouds. (Mike Tyson)
We all dream, but the difference is how we deal with them in our lives after we wake up. We can treat them like a goal that leads to real success and happiness or just merely a dream.
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By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 11:53 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Nichinan city festival of live experiences 23rd November

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If you are an adventurous person and admire trying new experiences, you shouldn’t miss this festival. In Nichinan city you can enjoy the festival of live experiences using Miyazaki living experience trail tickets of half price.
(The ticket price is 4000 yen but the value is 8000 yen).
You can enjoy the following experiences

1. Making mochi (rice cake) using brown sugar http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/428639527.html
2. Cooking shrimps in fire woods and cutting the woods by yourself
3. Making strawberry jam
4. Making creative things using driftwood
5. Cruising and fishing experience while enjoying the scenery above the sea level
6. Making fishing tool using original bamboo
7. Japanese style of archery in an open nature
8. Planting moss, tiny plants, for taking home with you

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 09:19 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Entertainment events of food festival in Miyazaki University

It wasn’t just a food festival it was a fun festival, music festival and dance festival. There were countless entertainment programs.
The outdoor events started with a cappella (singing without musical accompaniment) concert, and followed by Karaoke tournament and other live concerts.
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There were also some sports programs like hot battles or wrestling and there were some lively cheer leaders for encouraging them.



In addition, there was a competition of drinking cola, Snack championship, and games like drawing with a blindfold, all of which had luxurious prices.
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There were many live concerts but the stage got fire and the crowd got incredibly increased during the crew dance show. It was entertaining and enjoyable.


Now, if you are regretting why you didn’t join it, wait for the next year. :p

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 09:57 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする