Tenkara – no – Oni — Masami Sakakibara’s World of Tenkara —

Oni Blog


Posted on | January 7, 2013

Happy New Year to all Tenkara fans

and their families around the globe!


The New Year in Japan is called “Shōgatsu” and it is an annual festival

with its own customs.

The Japanese New Year has been celebrated since 1873 according

to the Gregorian calendar, on January 1 of each year. Prior to 1873,

the date of the Japanese New Year was based on the Chinese lunar calendar,

as are the contemporary Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese New Years.

This is when most Japanese get to spend a precious 1 week at home

with family, away from work, although that one week is

packed with traditional events.


It all begins with major cleaning in every household on New Year’s Eve day.

We clean everything from floor to the ceiling, even the garden to to welcome

the New Year and any spirits that may come with it.

Then, sometime after dinner and before the countdown,

people often gather for one last time in the old year to

have a bowl of “Soba”(buckwheat noodles) together—a tradition based on

people’s association of eating the long noodles with “crossing over from

one year to the next,” or “hope for a long lived life”.

Soba noodles are cut thin and long, which reflects traditional Japanese

ideological life style.

At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan

ring their bells a total of 108 times to symbolize the 108 human sins

in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding

sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen.

Japanese believe that the ringing of bells can rid of their sins during

the previous year.



To welcome the New Year, most houses are decorated with flowers,

rice straw ropes and a “Kadomatsu” (literally “gate pine”).

They are traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year and

placed in front of homes to welcome spirits of ancestors and spirits

of the harvest.


Another New Year’s decoration is called “Kagami-Mochi”,

which is formed from two round cakes of mochi with a tangerine placed

on top. It is to represent several generations that make up the household

and it is typically displayed before an in-home shrine.

Japanese people eat a special selection of dishes during the New Year

celebration called “Osechi-ryōri,” typically shortened to “Osechi”.


This usually consists of boiled seaweed, fish cakes, mashed sweet potato

with chestnut, simmered burdock root , and sweetened black soybeans.

Many of these dishes are sweet, sour, or dried, so they can keep

without refrigeration—the culinary traditions date to a time before

households had refrigerators, when most stores closed for the holidays.

There are many variations of Osechi, and some foods eaten in one region

are not eaten in other places, but everything that goes into Osechi carries

a meaning associated with prayer for betterment of health,

wealth and so forth.


Many of these traditions have been carried on since 1300’s, and

many Japanese follow it not royally, but as a simple routine to

start off the year on a positive note.

I assume that the concept of declaring a “New Year’s Resolution”

is popular worldwide and not a tradition unique to Japan only.

My resolution for this year is, to help promote Tenkara as much as

possible, as well as sharing as much of my knowledge with others as possible.

As long as my health persists, I will give it my very best!

Masami Sakakibara January 1st, 2013



P.S Early in December of 2012,

 I had sent out Christmas cards to people I have address to in Italy and the US…

 I think around 15 people. 

 It appears no one had received it. 

 I don’t know what happened or maybe I didn’t write the addresses properly. 

 I am very sorry.



4 Responses to “2013!”

  1. Adam
    January 7th, 2013 @ 1:42 PM

    Thank you so much for the explanation of Japanese customs. I wish to learn as much as you are willing to teach me about Tenkara and Japan. I am excited to visit and fish in June of this year. I am patiently waiting as the months, weeks then the day arrives!

  2. Austin
    January 11th, 2013 @ 2:37 AM

    i love this website i read all the new posts as soon as they are posted! its awesome to share everyday things from another culture.

  3. Ronald Raymond
    December 5th, 2013 @ 11:46 PM

    Quebec Count river showing a lot of potential fishing Tenkara.
    The invitation is launched

    Ronald Raymond

  4. ONI
    December 6th, 2013 @ 8:30 AM

    Hello Ronald I want to go to Quebec,someday.My wife’s cousin live in Canada.

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