Category Archives: Photos

【Series】 Our Noh no Ikebana : “Spring is just around the corner and trees are preparing themselves for it,” says Teruko Omura, 64, from Fukuyama city, Hiroshima(Feb. 2)

“I began Noh no Ikebana six year ago after reading articles in Japan Agricultural News. I live close to a lot of mountains and fields which are the source of an unlimited number of materials, and I found it very interesting that I can make arrangements using natural materials in natural ways. I do traditional ikebana since I was a junior high school student, but I think Noh no Ikebana is very special in how we can use the materials in any forms ranging from buds to dry pieces to create brisk displays. For containers, I often chose tools that my family used a long time ago. Creating arrangements with … Continue reading

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“Evil out and fortune in!” Throw and get showered with dry roasted soybeans in Honbetsu, Tokachi, Hokkaido: Honbetsu Mamemaka Night Festival

HOKKAIDO, Feb. 4 – On February 3 each year, people in Japan does a “mamemaki” (literally “bean scattering”) traditional ritual of throwing soybeans to cleanse away evil spirits symbolized by oni, supernatural demons that often appear in Japanese folklore. But, people here in Honbetsu town, Hokkaido, have a lot more to do with the mamemaki. They have an event called Honbetsu Mame-maka Night (literally “you gotta throw beans tonight in Honbetsu”) that uses 2 tons of dry roasted soybeans to drive away an ill fortune. The youth group of a local agricultural cooperative (JA Honbetsu-cho) supports the event to promote soybeans, the local specialties of Honbetsu. This year’s festival was … Continue reading

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Mochi culture connecting past and future in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture

IWATE, Jan. 7 – Mochi is indispensable for the new year’s day in Japan, but in Ichinoseki city, Iwate Prefecture, it’s not just for new year’s day. Ichinoseki has its own mochi culture and it’s trying to bring more people from all over Japan, year-round, by focusing on this local heritage. People in Ichinoseki eat mochi all around the year. They boast over 300 different ways of serving mochi, some with traditional toppings like “zunda (sweet crushed edamame green soybeans),” “shoga (sweet ginger sauce),” “ebi (fresh-water shrimps),” and “natto (fermented soybeans)” and others with contemporary ideas The people also serve “mochi honzen (full-course mochi dinner)” at weddings, funerals and other … Continue reading

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【Series】 Our Noh no Ikebana : “Let’s celebrate new year with happy decoration,” says Sachie Sano from Nantan city, Kyoto (Jan. 5)

“Usually, I have a large basket in the entrance hall and enjoy arrangements with silver glasses, persimmon branches and other mountain flowers and fruits. I also like crafting and sometimes enjoy making akebia vine wreaths. Most of the people here enjoy the arrangement in the same way, I think. It’s more fun to decorate agricultural products than flowers you bought, isn’t it? The theme of the arrangement today is the new year holidays. I used a pole for Koinobori carp-shaped streamers, and I wrap it with straw matting to make it look like a dog with long ears. It’s the year of the dog in the Chinese astrological calendar, you … Continue reading

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Kadomatsu, something Japanese must have as new year decoration

GUNMA, Dec. 24 — Akagi Green, a gardening and landscaping company in Maebashi city, Gunma Prefecture, is now in the busiest time of the year, making kadomatsu, traditional Japanese new year decorations. The kadomatsu in various sizes, ranging in height from 1 to 2 meters, are lined up in its garden. The company is going to make approximately 200 pairs by December 24 and ship them to the customers mainly in the Kanto region by December 28. The most poplar ones are those of 1.5 meters tall. Takeshi Ogiwara, 45-year-old president of the company, said, “Kadomatsu is inseparable from new years in Japan. We want to continue making them as … Continue reading

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