Home > Japanese Culture > Priests run back and forth in this month

Priests run back and forth in this month

It’s our lunch time in Japan now. I’ll bring this article in my office. My subordinate next to me has her lunch now, glancing at me typing this article. I am writing this, expressing ‘I have to send E-mail in English to my clikent.’ As a matter of fact, I don’t have so many chances to use English in my business…lol

We have a lot of events in December. This time, I’ll introduce a few topics about them.

shiwasu
We call December shiwasu, which literally means ‘masters(or teachers) hastily go back and forth.’ Originally, shi was indicated ‘Buddhism priests’ and they have to chant Buddhism sutras at many places in December. Priests are busy visiting their believers and chanting sutras in this month. We don’t know when the word ‘shiwasu‘ is used, but we treat this month as ‘one of busiest month.’

Actually, we have Christmas parties, preparations for the new year, caluclations for our bonus and others in addition to our routine work. Although I am not such a sacred position like a priest, yeah, I’m busy. (Hey, Am I writing this article in English during business hours? lol)

yuku toshi kuru toshi
I don’t know how exactly I could express it in English. Maybe ‘This year has gone, and The new year has come’? At the very last day of the year, many Japanese visit temples and ring the bell 108 times. There are many theories about why 108 times. As one of theories, I’ll put this. We have one phrase ‘shiku hakkuku‘, which is both translated into ‘horrible infliction, suffering, bitterness.’ 4 times 9 is 36. 8 times 9 is 72. Please add both of numbers. 108.

bounenkai
bounenkai is one of parties held in this season in order to reflect on topics or look back on topics happened this year. We often hold this bounenkai among clients, friends or colleagues. People who have many connections have to attend many bounenkai. Everyday, everynight, you have to drink alcohol and sometimes entertain your clients at the parties. Once the new year has started, the name of parties changes from bounenkai to shinnenkai. bou of bounenkai literally means ‘forget’, shin of shinnenkai means ‘new’, and nen means ‘year.’ Through both of bounenkai and shinnenkai, we reflect on things happened, forget them, discuss them and prepare for new things in the new year.

Oops, sorry, I have to get back to work. I’ll reply all your comments when I’m home.

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Categories: Japanese Culture
  1. December 12, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Thank You you so much for posting articles like these! You have no idea how important I find them. I’m so grateful to you for sharing these little tidbits of japanese culture. They mean the world to me! I’d write more but I’m still getting used to my new phone. 🙂

    • honeypotter
      December 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm

      Mugami, I’m the one who must say ‘thank you’ to you. You gave me another word to me again! ‘tidbit’, I got it!

      I’ll introduce as many things about Japan as I can, Mugami. Please don’t miss it. 😀

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