As part of the Japanese martial arts series, JASGA presented Judo demonstration by the Kokoro Judo club practitioners led by Glenn Marcias. This demo was the first time for us to present Judo, one of the Japanese martial arts, to the JASGA community.
Thank you to those of you who have supported JASGA programs and events in 2016. We celebrated the end of the year and had a good time together with the Japanese tradition of Bonenkai - the end of the year gathering.
The registration for Spring 2017 Japanese language and Shodo classes will start in the mid-end of January. Please visit our home page (www.jasga.org) and calendar sometime in the beginning of January. You will also receive a registration information via email. Please watch your email box!
December is here and JASGA just finished our Bounenkai, the end-of-the-year or forget-the-year party.
Shogatsugoto-hajime (正月事始め, New Year Preparations): December is called Shiwasu(師走) in Japanese which literally means "teachers run around." This word reflects the busiest month of the year. During December, Bounenkai gatherings are held among co-workers or friends. It's a Japanese custom to send oseibo (end-of-year gifts) around this time of the year. Also, it's customary to write and mail Nengajo (Japanese New Year's postcards) in December so that they are delivered on New Year's Day.
On the winter solstice (冬至toji), some Japanese traditions are observed, such as eating kabocha pumpkin and taking yuzu bath. The reason for that is our wish to stay healthy during the winter by keeping warm and eating nutritious food.
An important Japanese end-of-year custom is
oosoji (extensive cleaning.) Oosoji is traditionally practiced when the weather is rather cold. It's important to welcome a new year with a clean state, and all cleanings are done at home, work, and school before New Year's holiday.
When the cleaning is done, New Year's decorations are usually placed by December 30 around and inside houses. A pair of kadomatsu (pine and bamboo decorations) is placed at the front door or at the gate. Shimekazari or shimenawa made with a twisted straw rope, paper decorations, and a
tangerine mikanare hung in various locations to bring good luck. It's said that bamboo, pine, tangerines are symbols of longevity, vitality, and good fortune.
Another New Year's decoration is kagami-mochi
which usually consists of two round shaped mochi rice cakes one on top of the other.
As many people are off work from the national holiday on the 23rd of December (Emperor's birthday) to the 3rd of January in Japan. After the all busy work, the Japanese usually spend New Year's Eve (oomisoka) rather quietly with the family. It is traditional to eat toshikoshi-soba (buckwheat noodles for passing the year ) on New Year's Eve since thin long noodles symbolize longevity. People say to each other "yoiotoshiwo" which means "Have a nice year passing" at the end of the year.
Before midnight on New Year's Eve, temple bells across Japan begin to toll slowly 108 times. It's called joya-no-kane. People welcome the new year by listening to the sound of temple bells. It is said that the temple bell tolls purify ourselves of our 108 worldly desires. At many temples, visitors can strike joya-no-kane. You might need to arrive early to participate in tolling the bells.
Thanks to all those who helped us to make JASGA's10thAkiMatsuri - 2016 Japan Fall Festival - such a great success!
The effort and dedication of all groups, including performers, demonstrators, vendors, exhibitors, volunteers, students from JASGA Japanese Calligraphy class, Japanese class students at McCallum & LASA high school as well as the generosity of our festival sponsors, auction and giveaways donors, are much appreciated.
Please click here and here to view photos from the Festival.
2016 AkiMatsuri Performers and Presenters: 太鼓 Japanese Drums | Austin Taiko 民謡踊り Japanese Folk & Festive Dance | Austin Japanese Folk Dance group 誠道塾空手道 Japanese Traditional Seido Karate | Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense
茶の湯 Tea Demonstration| Sheila Fling (Tea name: Soshin) 沖縄舞踊 Okinawa Traditional Dance | SetsukoKuniyoshi, Miyagi-ryuNosho-kaiRyukyu Dance School 日本舞踊 Japanese Traditional Buyo | Marie & Amy Yamamoto, Jansen Wada
盆踊り Bon Dance | Fall Festival participants & Austin Japanese Folk Dance Group
居合道 Iaido Japanese Martial Arts | Austin KomeiJuku 剣道 Kendo Japanese Martial Arts | UT Kendo Club & Austin Kendo Doshikai
2016 AkiMatsuri Sponsors:
Anime Austin | Coco's Cafe | Asahi Imports | Kome Sushi Kitchen | Yakult USA | ANA
Thanks to the 2016 JASGA's Japan Fall Festival Volunteers:
William Groot, Mary Feng, Alex Ciccone, GeorgaShirai, Quintin Reyes, Esteban Reyes, Rie Grams, Robyn Westerlund, Katsuya Sato, AkiOmikawa, Kai Jones, Chris Jones, KazukoMaeda, Yoko Morgan, Tami Nagasawa, Aya Koga, Chika Endo, KyokoKushiro, Aaron Himmler, Adam Meester, Colin Bestable, Emi Nishimura, Yu Otuska, SoraArisaka, SotaIwasaki, Keiichi Yamamoto, Kenichi Ono, CelenaUrabe, Michael Schaefer, ToshioNishida, HirokoKarch, Japanese language class students at McCallum & LASA high school, (Kako Ito)