Japan Australia Pages

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kodomo no Hi

Children’s Day or “Kodomo no Hi” (こどもの日) in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on May 5. It is the fourth national holiday of “Golden Week”, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days.

The first national holiday of Golden Week is Showa no Hi on April 29, which honours the birthday of the former Showa Emperor. The second national holiday of Golden Week is Kenpou Kinenbi on May 3, which commemorates the promulgation of Japan’s constitution. The third holiday of Golden Week is Midori no Hi on May 4, which is dedicated to show appreciation to the environment and nature.

Children’s Day is a holiday for children in general, but is primarily for boys. The day is to celebrate boys, and it is a festival to pray for the healthy growth of boys. Girls have their own festival called Hina Matsuri on March 3.

The History of Kodomo no Hi 


Children’s Day dates back to the Nara period of Japan when it was known as Tango no Sekku. It was then a day to celebrate perseverance, strength and well-being of boys.

Tango no Sekku was renamed Kodomo no Hi in 1948 after the post-war constitution took effect.

Koinobori 


It is tradition for families with boys to hang up carp streamers called Koinobori outside their houses on flag poles around this holiday.

Traditionally, at the top of the pole is a large black carp known as magoi which represents the father. Below that, a red carp known as higoi which represents the mother, followed by a blue carp representing the first son. Additional carp are added for each subsequent son.

Carp in Japan are believed to symbolize strength and successes in children’s lives, and by displaying koinobori it is hoped that they will bring the boys of the family future success and luck.

Gogatsu Ningyo 


Samurai dolls called Gogatsu Ningyo are also displayed in homes. These samurai dolls symbolize strength, power and success, all traits of Japanese samurai warriors.

Some families also display samurai helmets called Kabuto or Samurai Armour all believed to represent courage and honour.

Kabuto
Kabuto for Kodomo no Hi

Special Food 


A popular food eaten during Children’s Day is Kashiwa Mochi, which is mochi wrapped in an oak leaf. The oak leaf represents prosperity and good fortune because the oak tree does not shed its old leaves until new ones have grown.

Kashiwa Mochi
Kashiwa Mochi

Colonel Sanders Dressed for Kodomo no Hi
Colonel Sanders Dressed for Kodomo no Hi in Japan

Kodomo no Hi

Monday, May 4, 2015

Midori no Hi

Midori no Hi
Greenery Day or “Midori no Hi” (みどりの日) in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on May 4. It is the third national holiday of “Golden Week”, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days.

The first national holiday of Golden Week is Showa no Hi on April 29, which honours the birthday of the former Showa Emperor. The second national holiday of Golden Week is Kenpou Kinenbi on May 3, which commemorates the promulgation of Japan’s constitution.

The purpose of Midori no Hi is to show appreciation for the environment and nature.

The History of Midori no Hi 


From 1989 to 2006 Greenery Day was celebrated on April 29, the birthday of the former Showa Emperor. As mentioned above the day is dedicated to show appreciation to the environment and nature. The former Emperor loved plants and nature so this special day was established to honour his love for nature.

In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to May 4 with April 29 changed to Showa Day.

May 4 used to be a regular national holiday before Greenery Day due to a law which declares a day that falls between two national holidays is a national holiday. We really like this law!

Greenery Day is the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and fresh green leaves of the season. 

Greenery Day
Greenery Day at Gifu Park

Midori no Hi


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kenpou Kinenbi

Kenpou Kinenbi
Constitution Memorial Day or “Kenpou Kinenbi” (憲法記念日) in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on May 3. It is the second national holiday of “Golden Week”, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days.

The first national holiday of Golden Week is Showa no Hi on April 29, which honours the birthday of the former Showa Emperor.

The purpose of the holiday is to commemorate the promulgation of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. The new Japanese constitution was put into effect on May 3, 1947.

The History of Kenpou Kinenbi 


Constitution Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1948 to reflect on the meaning of democracy in Japan and the Japanese government. The new constitution was created during the American occupation of Japan after World War II, with representatives from many countries contributing to the design of the new constitution and parliamentary form of government which was to follow.

This is the only day of the year that the National Diet Building is open to the public as well.

Kenpou Kinenbi

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Showa no Hi

Showa no Hi
Showa Day or “Showa no Hi” (昭和の日) in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on April 29. It honours the birthday of the former Showa Emperor, who reigned from 1926 to 1989. The purpose of the holiday is to encourage the Japanese people to reflect on this turbulent period of Japanese history.

It is the first holiday of the “Golden Week” period in Japan, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days. This is a popular holiday period with many people taking extended breaks and taking advantage of their time off to travel and enjoy the warmer spring weather.

The History of Showa no Hi 


The former Showa Emperor, Hirohito died on January 7, 1989 which led to the establishment of April 29 as Showa no Hi. The date used to be celebrated as “The Emperor’s Birthday” but this National Holiday was moved to the date of the new Tennō Emperor’s birthday (December 23). The new National Holiday was originally named “Greenery Day” because of the late Emperor’s love of nature, but in 2007, April 29 became Showa no Hi with Greenery Day moved to May 4.

Showa no Hi was created to encourage the public to reflect on the turbulent 63 year period of the Emperor’s reign. This was an important period of Japanese history which featured World War II, the post-war occupation and dismantling of Imperial rule and Japan’s rise to economic power.

Showa no Hi

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round Donuts

Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round Donuts
Mister Donut Japan recently released another addition to their every growing Brooklyn series of hybrid sweets inspired by the hip, cool eateries of Brooklyn, New York.

The new donuts are called Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round and feature a donut which uses both cookie and bagel dough. It is certainly an interesting idea and got our attention.

The donuts went on sale from April 9th and cost 172 yen (USD$1.45).

There are four donuts that form part of the new line-up and they include Green Tea Brownie, Caramel Almond, Chocolate Nuts and Plain with Maple Flavoured Syrup.

The latest pastry offering is a further shot from their cannon to deal with the rising threat from convenience stores who have entered the donut market in Japan. The donuts follow on from their previous offering last month of pizza donuts called Pizza Cioccolata Donuts.

Here is a brief look at each of the four new Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round Donuts

Green Tea Brownie 


The Green Tea Brownie donut features a green tea chocolate donut topped with delicious chocolate brownie.

Green Tea Brownie
Green Tea Brownie

Caramel Almond 


The Caramel Almond donut features a caramel glazed donut with slices of almonds.

Caramel Almond
Caramel Almond

Chocolate Nuts 


The Chocolate Nuts donut features a chocolate and white chocolate donut with nuts.

Chocolate Nuts
Chocolate Nuts

Plain with Maple Flavoured Syrup 


The plain with maple favoured syrup donut is made to highlight the cookie and bagel dough with the flavour boosted with maple flavoured syrup.

Plain with Maple Flavoured Syrup
Plain with Maple Flavoured Syrup

The Taste Test 


Japan Australia just had to give these a try so we headed straight for our local Mister Donut. We picked up a Green Tea Brownie, Caramel Almond and Chocolate Nuts as these to us sounded the best and tastiest.

The Green Tea Brownie donut was just right and not too sweet. We really liked the chewy texture from the bagel dough but also the crunchy texture from the cookie dough. It was a winner of a combination and definitely worth a try.

Green Tea Brownie
Green Tea Brownie

The Caramel Almond donut was a lot sweeter than the green tea brownie but it was a good level of sweetness. This was our favourite of the lot with the caramel and almond making a nice combination.

Caramel Almond
Caramel Almond

The Chocolate Nuts donut was the sweetest of all three we tasted. It was a little too sweet for us but we did like the extra level of crunchiness created by all the nuts. The icing was also really tasty with chocolate and white chocolate icing.

Chocolate Nuts
Chocolate Nuts

The Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round Donuts will be available for a limited time at Mister Donuts Japan. Hurry on in if you want to give these tasty treats a try.

Mister Donuts Japan Website

Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round Donuts
 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival 2015

JAFA’s Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival
JAFA’s Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival is the biggest Japan festival in Adelaide, South Australia. This year the festival is celebrating 20 years. It is great to see Japanese culture so prevalent overseas and festivals like this promoting Japanese culture. If you are a fan of Japanese culture and live in the Adelaide area make sure to mark it down on your events calendar.

The festival is a lot of fun and is filled with Japan-related performances, exhibitions, activities, stalls and plenty of Japanese food.

Some of the many attractions you can see at the festival include: 
  • Martial Arts Demonstrations (Judo, Kendo, Aikido, Iaijutsu) 
  • Taiko Drumming 
  • Japanese Folk Dance 
  • Traditional Japanese Folk Songs 
  • Origami 
  • Calligraphy 
  • Ikebana (Flower Arranging) 
  • Tea Ceremony 
  • Bonsai Tree Displays 
  • Japanese Pottery 
The event has won a number of prestigious community awards including:

• 2013 WINNER - The City of West Torrens Community Event of the Year Award
• 2013 WINNER - The Australia Day Council of South Australia Community Event of the Year Award

Come along for a fun day for the whole family at this unique community event.

Event Information 

When: Sunday, 3rd May 2015 11 am to 4 pm
Where: Cowandilla Primary School
Address: 21 Jenkins St, Cowandilla, SA, Australia
Cost: $2 per person, $5 per family
Access: Free parking is available
Other: Come in a Japanese costume to add to the fun

Here are some pictures from last year's event

JAFA’s Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival
Girls wearing Japanese yukata

Japanese Martial Arts
Japanese Martial Arts

Chocolate Banana at the Festival
Chocolate Banana at the Festival

Japanese Taiko Drumming
Japanese Taiko Drumming

Performance at the Festival
Performance at the Festival

Performance at the Festival
Performance at the Festival

Performance at the Festival
Performance at the Festival


Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival Website

Google Map

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Kit Kat in Japan

Easter Kit Kat
Kit Kat is a popular snack in Japan well known for its unique flavours and limited edition releases. You can pretty much find any flavour of Kit Kat here in Japan if you look hard enough. Each area seems to have its own regional variety and you can find limited seasonal releases for annual events and holidays such as Christmas, Halloween and the Cherry Blossom season.

Easter is not a major holiday in Japan but it has slowly been gaining in popularity in recent times. This year, Nestle Japan has launched a brand new version of Kit Kat just in time for Easter.

The Easter Kit Kat features a cute package with your typical Easter images like the Easter Bunny and an Easter Egg. It also features a fun play on words that is perfect for April in Japan. Nestle Japan has the slogan イースターでいいスタートを! (iisutaa de ii sutaato wo), which means “Have a good start with Easter” in Japanese. April is the start of the Japanese school and business year so it is a perfect slogan to run with this time of the year.

Easter Kit Kat Package
Cute Easter package


The new Kit Kats are apple pie and carrot flavour which is an interesting combination. Why apple pie and carrot you ask? Well, Nestle Japan came up with the combination after surveying Japanese chocolate fans and asking what flavours they would most like to see. Apple and Carrot topped the list, so the rest is history as they say in the classics.

We were very curious so had to go and check them out.

They went on sale from March 16 and will be available for a limited time. You can pick up a pack of 12 for 540 yen (USD$4.50).

The Taste Test 


Opening up the cute package you come across these even cuter individually wrapped Kit Kats. The Kit Kats themselves are also cute with different designs on them. There are thirteen different designs in total to feast your eyes over this Easter.

Easter Apple Pie & Carrot Kit Kat
Easter Apple Pie & Carrot Kit Kat

Cute individually wrapped packages
Cute individually wrapped packages
 
Even the chocolate has a cute design
Even the chocolate has a cute design

They also make a cool Easter gift with space on the back of each Kit Kat to write your Easter message. 

Write your own message for Easter
Write your own message for Easter

How do they taste? Well, I’ve heard some interesting answers on Twitter ranging from tastes like medicine to apple juice. They don’t taste that bad, but I wouldn’t say that they are one of my all-time favourites. The apple pie flavour is quite strong and doesn’t match up well with the chocolate in my opinion. Still they are worth a try if you are curious and want a new variety of Kit Kat to try.

Happy Easter from Japan!

Nestle Japan Images

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