Only in Japan 6

Here it is, folks – the last “Only in Japan” segment.

This post’s topic is upon request from my splendid mother, who was intrigued by the idea that people in my town still walk around at night in the winter sounding out a warning for people to shut off their kerosene heaters. Not sure exactly what kind of noise they’re making, but it sounds kind of like clanging a chime and tapping wooden things together. They go faithfully round this part of the neighborhood around 11 p.m. or so. During the two years that I’ve lived here, I’ve never captured them on video, but one night last week I finally sneaked out and filmed them as they walked by. Of course, being 11 o’clock at night, one can’t really see much, but hey, at least I tried.

Here you are, Mom!

And now, a bonus video!

This January, the kindergarten held its annual “mochi tsuki,” or mochi making – a traditional activity often done around the New Year’s season in Japan. Mochi are chewy rice balls, and the traditional way to make mochi is by pounding steamed rice until it forms a glutinous dough. This year, I got to help pound for a few minutes! The students are all cheering me on by shouting “Yoisho,” a phrase that Japanese people use when exerting effort for something.

Well, that’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s (final?) post!

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