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Osechi(Japanese traditional New Year’s dish) the origin,the meaning of each ingredient

Osechi is Japanese traditional New Year’s dishes.
Each dish contains meaning associated with the ingredient in it. I’ll introduce some of them.

○herring roe (kazunoko)
It stands for ‘kodakusan’ meaning many children

○sea bream (tai)
It is associated with ‘medetai’ meaning happiness or auspiciousness.

○cooked black soybeans (kuromame)
It wishes for ‘a diligent life’

○coiled kelp (kobumaki)
It stands for ‘yorokobu’ meaning happiness

○lobster or prawn (ebi)
It is for longevity because its body is bent like an old person's.

‘Osechi’ means ‘food offered on occasion ’. 
The beginning of Osechi goes back to Heian period. In those days osechi was provides for blessing happiness and health five times in a year at various festivities.

Today it only refers to the New Year's dishes .

Osechi is usually come in a lacquered boxes called jubako. The lacquered boxes consist of five or four tiers formally. But recently two or three tiers are usual.  The number of family members is decreasing beca…

Kamishibai_picture card show, picture story show

紙芝居:Kamishibai (picture-card show, picture-story show) is Japanese original culture.

Kamishibai (picture-story cards) are like a picture book divided into each page.
These are pictures on one side.
These are stories on the other side. (for story teller)
The same pictures as which audience are watching is shown in the yellow square.

Kamisibai(picture-card show) is a little similar to reading aloud picture books to kids but it also has some unique features.

・stage
Kamishibai(picture-story cards) are usually set into stage.

○ Stage color is usually sober color (for example : brown) for audience to concentrate to Kamishibai and there’s no curtains and the other decorations in same reason.

○The story is written on the other side of the card in the last.

・Pull out a card
While pulling out a card, audience can see a little bit of next picture. Naturally they can concentrate to the next picture. Storyteller think out a way of pulling out a card (slowly, speedy, stop in the way)

・Insert a card
Storyteller insert the first card to the other side of the last card.

While Insert a card, storyteller don’t read the next story. This short interval let audience have time to imagine, “What will happen next?”

The sense of short interval is important for Japanese. You can sometimes feel short interval even when you watch news on TV in Japan.

・Communication
Storyteller stand on the left side of the stage (from audience). So they face each other and can communicate.

Around 1930s-1950s, street Kamishibai was performed by a storyteller.
street Kamishibai
He or she carried candies and Kamishibai’s stage on the back of a bicycle.
After selling candies, they performed Kamishibai for children.

Nowadays, Kamishibai is performed in kindergarten by teachers or library events by volunteers.


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