FINDING ‘MOMO’ – Good Bye 2013!! Hello 2014!! The First Post from JAPAN

Hello from Japan! It has been a while since the last article. How was your holiday? I got a lot of cards from Shelbyville. I also enjoyed seeing Christmas pictures which my friends posted on Facebook. I would like to look back 2013 and introduce what Christmas and New Year’s holiday are like in Japan.

I spent a half of the last year in Shelbyville. During my stay, students from Shelbyville visited Shizuoka City (Kambara) in June and students from Shizuoka City (Kambara) visited Shelbyville in August. Last year marked the 25th anniversary of our sister city relationship, so the Mayors and a group of people from each city visited the other group’s city like the students did.



unnamed4 unnamed1

When Mayor Tom DeBaun’s group visited Shizuoka City, I went around with them to a lot of places. At Kambara Junior High School, we stopped by judo class, music class and English class.

IMG_4163 IMG_4176 IMG_4168

And then we took a photo in front of a tree which was planted on the 10th year anniversary of our sister city relationship. This reminds us again how long we have been connected.



Both groups’ visits brought more knowledge about each other and made the relationship deeper. Last year became a wonderful year for both of our cities.




・ ・ ・

Next I would like to tell you what Christmas and New Year’s holidays are like in Japan. On Christmas, downtown is decorated with many lighting displays. Not everyone gets a Christmas tree in their house like you, but if we go to IKEA in Japan, we can get a big Christmas tree. Lots of people buy Christmas cakes. Of course, Santa Claus comes to give presents to children in Japan too.

IMG_4740 IMG_4748

On New Year’s Eve and during New Year’s holiday, we do a lot of things! Houses and shops are decorated with traditional ornaments during the holiday.

photo1 photo

On New Year’s Eve, we eat soba noodle. This is called toshikoshi soba, which represents a long life. This also has wishes for cutting a bad luck of the year by actually cutting and eating the noodle. TV Stations have special programs. For example, a music program named Kohaku Uta Gassen has been produced since 1951. In the morning of New Year’s Day, lots of people go to see the first sunrise of the New Year. Also we have our first shrine visit. People like to draw fortune there. The fortune I draw was “great luck”!


During New Year’s holiday, we eat many kinds of traditional foods. Osechi is one of the traditional dishes for New Year and each type of food has a special meaning. I love the ozoni, a kind of rice cake soup with some chickens and vegetables, my mother makes. Everyone goes to their relative’s houses for New Year’s greetings. Children get New Year’s gift of money called otoshidama from grandparents and relatives. We enjoy spending time with our family, friends and any other people we want to be with.

Wikipedia page about Japanese New Year:

Did you learn something new from this article? Is there anything different between the US and Japan? I want to know how you spend the New Year’s holiday in the US. I hope 2014 will be another great one for everyone.

* ・ ・ ・ ・ ・   ・ ・ ・ ・ ・   ・ ・ ・ ・ ・   ・ ・ ・ ・ ・ *





・ ・ ・







  1. Andy Yoshida says:

    We believe the year 2013 was wonderful year for both city by exchanging 25 years friendship. We hope this relationship continues forever. This report from Japan keeps us as one big family. Good job Momo!

    • Momoco Shiosaka says:

      Andy, thank you for your comment! I also believe this relationship will continue for years to come. I hope that more and more people know about each city and do what they can do for sister city relationship.

  2. Teresa Havens-Tungate says:

    Yes, 2013 was a good year for sister cities to celebrate friendship of 25 years. The time spent together created many special memories for all of us, strengthening the friendship.

    • Momoco Shiosaka says:

      Thank you for your comment, Teresa! I hope the relationship will continue for years to come and more and more people will have great experiences through exchange program.

What are your thoughts?