What Japanese People Do in December

Posted December 17th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests 3 Comments »

Like other countries, December is the busiest month in a year in Japan.  New Year’s Day is the biggest event, followed by New Year’s Eve and Christmas.  On December, school kids start to get excited for the winter holiday, couples get excited for the romantic Christmas dates, and families get excited for a gathering with all the relatives and family.   

We have several things to get done before New Year’s Day in Japan.  One is cleaning!  We clean our houses, offices, gardens, and even public toilets.  This cleaning is called “Nenmatsu- Oh-souji” (the end of the year cleaning).  When I was a kid all my family get busy… wipe tatami mats, clean light bulbs, change paper on shoji (window made with Japanese paper and wood) , wash doggy’s house etc.  The idea of this “Nenmatsu- Oh-souji” is that we clean up all the mess we made in the year and welcome a New Year with clean and new atmosphere –  a new life.

Another one is … parties!  We do “bounen-kai” , “shinnen-kai” and sometimes Christmas party with colleagues, friends, and family.  “Bounen-kai” is a party (mostly drinking at Izakaya) before New Year’s Day, and it’s for “to forget about this year”.  Whatever you did, any mistakes and regrets in the year,  you have to forget after attending this party.  On the other hand, “Shinnen-kai” is a party after New Year’s Day.  This is just a party to welcome New Year.  Sometimes you get to attend those parties almost everyday in December, for example, with friends from high school, with friends from college, with friends from office, with office members, with kid’s play group members etc.  Very busy!  But fun 🙂

My mum emailed me saying that her company was having “Bounen-kai” lastnight, and everyone was working super fast and finished 2 hours early!  So funny…  They are so ready to drink some beer and sho-chu!

I’m having a small gathering party (kind of “Bounen-kai”) with my friends this Saturday.  This’s organised by my friend and we are gonna just relax and do nothing but eat & drink!  Can’t wait!

3 Comments on “What Japanese People Do in December”

  1. 1 Kaleidoscop3 said at 1:28 pm on December 17th, 2009:

    Hi Ume!

    I stumbled upon your site, and am thrilled to have discovered it! I love your entries, and your musings on life in Perth. I also like reading about Japanese food! 🙂

    You have inspired me to start blogging again!

  2. 2 Bishonencam said at 5:22 pm on December 17th, 2009:

    That sounds like a lot of fun!

    Hope you guys have a great time! ^_^

  3. 3 umepontarou said at 11:01 am on December 18th, 2009:


    Thank you!!

    I like your blog and recipes 🙂


    We will ♪ Try not to drink too much chu-hai :p

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