Japanese Lessons

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Author Archives: Yoko-Japanese

七夕祭り(たなばたまつり) Tanabata Festival

Tanabata Festival is believed to be originated in China. The Tanabata Festival celebrates the legendary meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi; which are represented by the stars Vega and Altair. In Japan, it takes place on July 7 on the lunar calendar. The Load of Hosts, Orihime’s father, allowed them to get married, but later he forced his daughter to come home as he was angry about his daughter discontinued weaving after the marriage. Children in Japan write their wishes on Tanzaku (colourful paper cut into strips) and hang them on bamboo, wishing Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet as they can only meet if the weather is good.


七夕祭り(たなばたまつり)は、中国(ちゅうごく)から日本(にほん)に伝(つた)えられたと信(しん)じられています。太陽暦(たいようれき)の7月7日に、織姫(おりひめ)と彦星(ひこぼし)が一年(いちねん)に一度(いちど)だけ会(あ)えるという伝説(でんせつ)を元(もと)にしたお祭(まつ)りです。織姫はベガ、彦星はアルテアという星(ほし)にたとえられています。河(かわ)の東側(ひがしがわ)に住む天帝の娘(むすめ)織姫は彦星と結婚(けっこん)することを許(ゆる)されましたが、結婚してから機織り(はたおり)をやめたことで天帝(てんてい)の怒(いか)りを買(か)い、天帝は織姫に家(いえ)に帰(かええ)ることを強要(きょうよう)し、その後(ご)二人(ふたり)は一年(いちねん)に一度(いちど)だけしか会(あ)うことを許(ゆる)されませんでした。 日本(にほん)の子供(こども)たちは、7月7日にお天気(てんき)がよくなり、織姫と彦星が会えるように祈(いの)りを込(こ)めて短冊(たんざく)に願い事(ねがいごと)を書(か)きます。

Hina Matsuri ひなまつり(雛祭り)

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day.
Japanese people celebrate Girls’ day on March 3.
Hina matsuri is the Festival of Dolls and also called Girls’ Day Festival, this is the day on which wishes are expressed for the future happiness of girls. Hinamatsuri is also called Momo no Sekku, which means Seasonal Festival of Plums. This derived from one of 5 seasonal festivals (go-sekku) of China: Jooshi. People believed that evil spirits easily get into human bodies during the seasonal turning points. In China, people purified themselves by washing their bodies in the rivers on March 3. Learning from the Chinese custom, Japanese people started dolls made of paper and rubbed one’s body with the paper doll to transfer their stain. Then they send paper dolls down the river and decorating dolls to get rid of ones’ stain. This is the beginning of Hina matsuri and was established during the Edo period. 

The dolls depicts the imperial court. two dolls on the top level are the Emperor and Empress, three Court Ladies on the second level, the 5 musicians on the level below, the Minister of the right/left, and the three servants on the lower-level above the beautiful furniture.

This image is from https://omatsurijapan.com/blog/about-hinamatsuri/

I had a gathering with some of the students on March 3, and shared simple version of Chirashi-zushi, with them. You can try it at one of the local Japanese Restaurants. It’s colourful and tasty!

Special Lesson

On Wednesday, January 29, I had a special lesson showing one episode from the Japanese TV program and talked about some on the Japanese culture, etiquette, as well as some common Japanese phrases. This lesson also included a tasting of a simple Japanese dish that was in the TV episode.

My current students seemed to enjoy it, and I will notify via my website and on my Facebook page when I am able to offer special class like this in the future.

– Minimum 3 students and max 5 students to offer a class — The estimated charge will be from $20 to $25 per student 
– For now, I am considering around noon or 1 pm one 
weekday and it will be 90 minutes long.
– If you are interested in Japanese culture, but not so much  
on the language, this may be a good introduction to learn 
more about Japan.

Thank you very much!

Holiday Gathering – 2



I had a holiday gathering for my adult students on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. As many of my adult students have their family to look after, I separated gatherings in several different days.

We enjoyed a chopstick game by picking a marble with chopsticks and transferring it from one bowl to another also a Shiritori game. Shiritori game is a word game that the player is required to say a word which begins with the final sound of the word that previous player said. The word can’t end with a sound of “n”, so you could start with, ‘gakki”がっき→”kimono”(きもの)→”nori”(のり), and “risu”(りす), but “gakki” (がっき)can’t be followed by “kirin”(きりん)as it ends with “n” sound.

Thank you all for joining my gathering!!!