We will go to Icho Namiki (Gingko Avenue) in Meiji-Jingu Gaien Park to enjoy the gorgeous golden leaves of the many ginkgo trees lining the avenue.
Students will have the opportunity to try mochi (rice cakes), which is a food traditionally eaten during the New Year holiday. We will decorate kagami mochi (mirror mochi), which are round mirror-shaped rice cakes displayed on families’ household altars to pray for prosperity and health in the new year.
Setsubun falls on the day before the first day of spring (February 3 or 4) of the lunar calendar. During this festival, people fling roasted beans at Oni (invisible demons) lurking in the dark outside. After dispersing the demons, people scatter beans inside their houses to invite good fortune into their homes. In this event, students will scatter roasted beans at Oni, saying “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (Good fortune inside, bad fortune outside).”
Hina Matsuri is held on March 3. Prior to and through that day, families with young daughters display ornamental dolls on a tiered platform covered with red felt in their homes. They do so to pray for the health and happiness of their daughters. Students will have a chance to learn more about this holiday and eat traditional hina-arare (rice crackers).
Students will go together with CPC faculty members to a Japanese restaurant. While tasting the many flavors that characterize Japanese food, students will learn about the ingredients, preparation, and traditions of the dishes that they are enjoying.
According to an old Chinese legend, the deities Hikoboshi (Altair) and Orihime (Vega) are lovers who spend the year on opposite banks of the River of Heaven (the Milky Way). Once a year on July 7, they can meet. On that day, people write wishes on colorful paper decorations that they then hang on a bamboo tree. Students will have the opportunity to follow this tradition by writing and hanging their own wishes.
Yukata is a light cotton kimono often worn in the summer for festivals or firework events. Students will have the chance to wear yukata and walk around GRIPS. They will also be given the opportunity to wear yukata in a traditional tatami room.