Lucky Japanese Elephant Poo Charms

Japanese New Year is the season of Omikuji – random fortunes written on strips of paper that tell you whether the new year will be a good one or not. Many Japanese people are superstitious and believe in fortune tellers such as Kazuko Hosoki, and lucky charms called Omamori. Protect yourself with elephant poo For many years, my favorite Japanese lucky charm was the faceless baby monkey, Sarubobo, from Takayama. That was until […]

Making Mochi in the Mountains

We hopped in Mami’s little pink car and took a drive out to Gujo city with our friend, Mr. H, for some traditional new year mochi making. Mochi can be described as “steamed rice pounded into a glutinous cake and used as a staple ingredient in a variety of dishes, including desserts”. This seasonal activity is a Japanese custom I hadn’t experienced until today, so I was quick with my camera to […]

I (kind of) won the Japanese lottery!

Okay, so I didn’t win the “Nenmatsu Jumbo”, but as a teacher I get sent quite a lot of New Year cards from my students. These postcards, from the post office, are marked with a number which if you’re lucky could be picked as the winning number in the post office’s New Year lottery. Here’s some background on “Nengajou” from Wikipedia: The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year’s […]

No bread for my sandwich maker!

While I got Mami a nice dressing table for Christmas, she bought me a toasted sandwich maker! We called them breville makers when I was a kid, and I used to love them so this was one of the best presents I could have asked for. Most of my Christmas meals were toasted sandwiches with loads of cheese, but I was gutted when on New Year’s Eve, we went to […]