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Firework money

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Prefectural customs in Japan

There are 47 prefectures in Japan. Actually to be precise, 43 prefectures, two urban prefectures, one metropolis and one territory.

The Japanese are very proud of their prefectures and especially the differences between the customs, habits, cuisine and personalities of each area. There are many TV programs that focus on these differences and many Japanese people enjoy discussing the ways in which the prefectures and their people differ.

You can learn Japanese vocabulary by reading this blog, and listen to native Japanese by watching the YouTube video.

Firework money




7月も中旬を過ぎ、あちらこちらの学校で夏休みが始まっています。 夏休みといえば、夏祭りがあったり、花火大会があったり、旅行にでかけたりと、みなさんいろいろなイベントがあると思います。 我が家の夏休みのイベントといえば、青森の実家へ帰省することです。新幹線は大変混雑しますから、帰省の1か月前には新幹線の切符を取るようにしています。




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


7月(がつ)も中旬(ちゅうじゅん)を過(す)ぎ、あちらこちらの学校(がっこう)で夏休(なつやす)みが始(はじ)まっています。 夏休(なつやす)みといえば、夏祭(なつまつ)りがあったり、花火大会(はなびたいかい)があったり、旅行(りょこう)にでかけたりと、みなさんいろいろなイベントがあると思(おも)います。 我(わ)が家(や)の夏休(なつやす)みのイベントといえば、青森(あおもり)の実家(じっか)へ帰省(きせい)することです。新幹線(しんかんせん)は大変(たいへん)混雑(こんざつ)しますから、帰省(きせい)の1か月前(げつまえ)には新幹線(しんかんせん)の切符(きっぷ)を取(と)るようにしています。


お正月(しょうがつ)には、子供(こども)たちは「お年玉(としだま) をもらいます。これはみなさんご存知(ぞんじ)ですよね。私(わたし)の地元(じもと)では、夏休(なつやす)み(主(おも)にお盆(ぼん)期間(きかん))に、祖父母(そふぼ)の家(いえ)に行(い)ったり、親戚(しんせき)の家(いえ)に行(い)ったりすると、子供(こども)たちは大人(おとな)から花火代(はなびだい)をもらいます。お年玉(としだま)ほど金額(きんがく)は多(おお)くはありませんが、花火(はなび)が買(か)える程度(ていど)のお金(かね)がぽち袋(ぶくろ)の中(なか)に入(はい)っています。


Firework money

As the middle of July come along, schools here and there start up their summer holidays. Talking of summer holidays, there are summer festivals held, fireworks festivals are held, people take trips out – I think everyone has various events.

As for my family, when we talk of summer events we mean our trip back to our family home in Aomori. The Bullet Train gets really crowded, so we try to book our tickets home about a month in advance.

Incidentally, do you know what “Hanabi Dai” is ?

During the New Year holiday, kids get “Otoshi Dama” (or New Year's money). You have heard of this, right ? In my home town, mainly during the Obon season, when we go to our grandparents' house or our relatives' houses, the kids receive “Hanabi Dai” from the adults there. The money is not as much as the money we receive for “Otoshi Dama” but there is enough money in the decorative envelope for the kids to buy some fireworks (“Hanabi” in Japanese).

It seems that this custom of giving “Hanabi Dai” is not a nation-wide one. Nobody knew about it in Gunma, the prefecture that I am living in now. Perhaps it is only an Aomori prefectural custom ? Or maybe it is only a custom in my home town Hachinohe City in Aomori prefecture and maybe only some areas in the prefecture ? In any case, its a great custom for the kids. When I was a child I got “Hanabi Dai” every year. It's a great memory !

中旬(ちゅうじゅん) the middle ten days of a month

青森(あおもり) Aomori prefecture (Tohoku area)

帰省(きせい)する return to one's family home

混雑(こんざつ)する be crowded; be congested

ところで by the way; incidentally

~代(だい) a charge; a fee

ご存知(ぞんじ) 「知(し)っています」の尊敬語(そんけいご)

地元(じもと) home area; home town

親戚(しんせき) a relative

ぽち袋(ぶくろ) decorative paper envelope for giving New Year's gifts (usu. money given to children) and congratulatory gifts

もしかして perhaps; possibly

いずれにしても anyhow; at all events; in any case; either way; anyway


Konnichi-wa, everybody. I am originally from Ringo-no-ri in Aomori prefecture, but I am now living in Kakaa-tenka in Gunma prefecture. I've lived in several other of Japan's prefectures as well, including Niigata (which has gorgeous sunsets), Tochigi (where the Nikko Toshogu shrine is located), and Gifu (land of the famous Shirakawa-go area of historic rafter roofed houses).

I myself am studying Chinese, so I can really relate to the difficulty of learning a foreign language. But still, if we can get past that step and feel the excitement of having just a single word understood, the feeling of satisfaction that comes from communication is, no pun intended, beyond words.

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