Oshougatsu is a traditional Japanese event that celebrates the arrival of the new year and wishes for good health and happiness for the following year.
How did you spend New Year this year?
Eating osechi cuisine with family and friends, receiving new years gifts, flying kites, playing with spinning tops. These are all Japanese customs at New Year.
Today, I’m going to introduce you to some activities that take place during oshougatsu!

Kite flying
The pleasures include not just flying the kite, but competing with others to see how high you can fly it and how long for. There are also games such as ‘Kite Battles’ and ‘Kite Fights’, where you use your own kite to drop the opponents kite or cut their kite’s thread.

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Spinning tops
In addition to just pulling on the wound up thread and enjoying the beautiful rotation, you can also challenge each other with acrobatic techniques and compete in battles. Think beyblade!

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Beanbag juggling
It is most common for people to juggle beanbags with others to the beat of the ‘beanbag song’, however there are no fixed rules and you can simply enjoy juggling with others and create your own rhythm.

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Japanese badminton
A badminton-like game that has two ways of playing. One way is by hitting the shuttlecock between two people, and the other way is by hitting the shuttlecock on your own and going for a high score combo. If you successfully rally for a long time its classed as a win. However, if you drop the shuttlecock, you get ink smeared in your face!

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Fuku warai
A game similar to ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ where a face is placed in front of you with no features, you are then blindfolded and required to place the parts of the face such as the eyes, nose and mouth to the blank face. It’s a fun game to laugh at the outcome of each players face.

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100 poems by 100 poets (a form of traditional Japanese playing cards known as ‘karuta’)
One person reads an explanation card and the players have to select the matching card from the karuta cards lined up on the floor. The first person to take the card wins the round and the person with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

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Sugoroku (a traditional Japanese board game)
Take turns to roll the dice and advance along the board. The first player to reach the goal wins.

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Daruma otoshi
A daruma sits on top of a number of blocks. The aim of the game is to hit the blocks out from underneath the daruma using a little mallet without the daruma falling off the top.

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Traditional activities that we rarely get the chance to do normally. Oshougatsu is also an opportunity to get interested in old-fashioned games and traditional events. Some are more difficult than others, but the best thing is that they are suitable for all ages, so why not give some of them a go!