On Christmas Day, I was enjoying some quiet time with my family when I got a message from a young woman named Lyndsey, who’s one of the members of the Risuko Beta Team. She wished me happy holidays, which I wished her back. I asked her what her plans were, and she said she was going over to her uncle’s to chop down some trees. I asked why her, and she said, “Well, I’m the only one who can climb with a chainsaw.”
Well, THAT explains why she likes Risuko!
Happy holidays, all of you — and if you’re climbing with a chainsaw… please be careful. 🙂
If you haven’t had enough celebration, you’re in luck! In Japan, the most important winter holiday is New Year’s Day. I set my children’s picture book The Seven Gods of Luck during this wonderful festival.
Here’s the note I wrote about the holiday from that book:
New Year in Japan
In Japan, the New Year celebration is called O-Shōgatsu (お正月).
During this time of year, houses are cleaned out and decorated, debts are traditionally paid, cards and gifts are exchanged with friends and family, and a feast is prepared, each part of which is supposed to bring good fortune in the coming year.
At midnight, as the old year gives way to the new, temple bells are rung exactly one hundred and eight times, each representing one of the cares or weaknesses that we all suffer in every year.
Traditional decorations include festoons of knotted straw, to help purify the home, as well as arrangements of evergreen boughs, oranges, or bamboo, which represent the return of the sun.
Holiday greetings include Gashō (賀正) or the more formal Akemashite Omedeto Gozai-masu (明けましておめでとうございます).
Happy New Year to you! May the coming year bring you joy, success — and at least one new book. 🙂