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Mainichi Shinbun  (Mainichi means literally “Every day.”  Shinbun means “newspaper.”  The name of this newspaper is the Mainichi Shinbun, like the New York Times.  However, there is no paper on January 2nd so it is not really every day, as my son pointed out.)

If you don’t know Japanese, look at it, and see if you can figure out the numbers.  (Before you scroll ahead.)

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1月1日(金) means: January first (Fri.)  Ichi Gatsu Tsuitachi (Kin)

Look at the 28.  Not only is it the year 2016, but it is also the year Heisei 28.  The Heisei Era started when the current emperor began his reign, and will end when he finishes his reign.  Then a new era will start.  I am curious what they will call the next era.  According to my husband who is talking to me right now, scholars will choose the new name.

You might think that the era system is antiquated and nobody uses it—NOPE!   People are more accustomed to the traditional Japanese system than the western system.  If you ask a Japanese person what year he or she was born in, of course he will immediately be able to tell you the Japanese year.   But he may have to think a bit for the western year.

I find the Japanese system of years so cumbersome.  Paperwork requires my birthdate, or my son’s birthdate or the current year in the Japanese style, and I can never ever remember them.  I scribble in the western year, unless I am told it must be in the Japanese year.  (99% of the time the western year is acceptable for number challenged people like me.)

In case you are wondering, before Heisei, there was the Showa Era. That’s when my husband and I were both born.  There’s a lot of reminiscing about the old days of the Showa era, kind of like in America how people reminisce about the nineteen fifties.

 

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Hmmm……what’s that cute envelope?  It’s New Year’s money!  It’s from the grandparents to my son.

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These are mochi (rice cakes) in sweet red bean.  It looks gross in this picture but it tastes delicious.

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This is 0secchi ryori, new year’s cold food.  It looks pretty…but tastes kind of gross! (In my opinion.)