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Ohagi rice cakes

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September equinox

The September equinox is a day in which is also known as the autumnal equinox. It is seen as the end of summer and start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are many cultures and countries that have special celebrations at this time. And in Japan there is a special name for the days and also for the time period.

In this blog by a Japanese teacher. Miki Oosawa introduces the food that is usually eaten during this period in Japan. Please read the blog to learn new words and listen Oosawa sensei read the blog herself to learn more Japanese for free from JOI.

Ohagi rice cakes during Autumnal Equinox Higan




 太陽が真東から昇って、真西に沈んでいく日が毎年2回あります。その日は一日の昼と夜の長さが同じになります。日本では、春は「春分の日」 秋は「秋分の日」 と呼ばれ、その日を真ん中にした一週間の期間を「彼岸」と言います。彼岸には先祖がその家族に会いに来ると考えられ、多くの日本人は先祖のお墓参りをします。



To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.





Ohagi rice cakes during Autumnal Equinox Higan

There are two days a year when the sun rises from due east and sets due west. And on those days the length of the day time and the night time is the same. In Japan these days are called, in spring, “Shunbun no Hi” and in autumn, “Shuubun no Hi”. And the period of a week in which these days fall into, is known as “Higan”. During “Higan” it is thought that the ancestors come to visit their families. And many Japanese people visit their famimly graves at this time.

In 2020, “Shuubun no Hi” falls on September 22nd . There are some differences between areas, but during “Higan” in Japan people make “Ohagi rice cakes” and make an offering to their ancestors. From ancient times, red beans have been said to have the power to drive away evil spirits. I also made “Ohagi rice cakes with my grandmother during “Higan”. You cook some Mochi rice and crush it and roll it a little and then you wrap it in red bean paste. In your country what special things do you do on this day?

In Japan, there is a saying that summer's heat lasts until “Higan”, I really do hope that the summer heat let's up a little buy that time.

彼岸(ひがん) Equinoctial week

おはぎ Ohagi; rice ball coated with sweetened red beans

春分(しゅんぶん)の日(ひ) Vernal Equinox Day

秋分(しゅうぶん)の日(ひ) Autumnal Equinox Day

先祖(せんぞ) ancestors

お墓(はか)参(まい)り to visit a grave

小豆(あずき) red beans

供(そな)えます      to put offering

邪気(じゃき)をはらう   have the power to drive away evils

もち米(ごめ) sticky rice

あんこ red bean paste


While all of you may have a different goal, there is one common purpose that you all share, which is to use the Japanese language in order to achieve something. I would be really glad if by learning Japanese here at JOI with me, and with your peers we can help to influence your life – even a little.
When I was a child, I used to perform a musical instrument, and played various kinds of music including pop and jazz. I also love to look at old buildings like temples and shrines and so I often travel. In my class, I would like to introduce some of Japanese culture and the traditions, through learning Japanese, and also introduce some of the characteristics of Japanese people. Lets face our goals together and go for it !

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Guest Tuesday, 26 October 2021