January - Japan #1
It’s the month of January! Wow - a new year! The Eggs left Australia and landed in Tokyo, Japan as they continue they adventure around the world.
What’s That Noise?
The Eggs stepped off the plane and immediately heard loud booms. “What’s going on, Shelly?” asked Seggourney.
Shelly smiled and said, “Oh wonderful – we’re just in time for the New Year!” She went on to explain that a New Year celebration in Japan was similar to the U.S., however, they use plenty of fireworks and it lasts for three days!
The Eggs were impressed. They stopped and marveled at the colorful bursting sky and felt welcomed immediately to Japan.
Takumi, Ojii-San and the Bullet Train
Shelly met her friend, Takumi, and his grandfather, who introduced themselves to the Eggs. “Konichiwa,” Takumi said as they both bowed. “That means hello!”
“And you can call me Ojii-San,” said Takumi’s grandfather as he bowed.
Shelly explained that in Japan, bowing is a sign of respect. Benedict, tired from the plane ride, whispered to Shelly in a rude tone, “Do I have to bow EVERY time?”
Shelly reprimanded Benedict for his behavior and told him he needed to respect the customs of Japan. He promptly apologized.
Takumi explained that they would be taking the Bullet Train, Shinkansen, to his home town of Kyoto. Everyone boarded the train with excitement because they learned that it can reach a top speed of almost 200 mph!
“Is that faster than an airplane?” inquired Megg excitedly.
“No,” chuckled Takumi. An airplane is much faster, but sit back and enjoy the ride!”
A Solemn Remembrance
A few hours later, the Eggs arrived in Kyoto. Takumi and his grandfather took the Eggs to their home.
“This is a beautiful home,” exclaimed Seggourney. “Where is the rest of your family?”
A silence fell over the room as Takumi hung his head. After an awkward silence, Ojii-san spoke. “You see, we had a very bad earthquake some years ago, and it claimed the lives of our loved ones.”
The Eggs felt awful, but Ojii-san soon lightened the mood. “C’mon, let us give you a tour of our beautiful home.”
They all removed their shoes, as was tradition, but of course, Benedict grumbled about it. “I have a hole in my sock – that’s embarrassing!”
Shelly quickly pulled him aside, and once again, told him to respect the customs of Japan. He begrudgingly took off his shoes.
The group settled in to a beautiful dinner in honor of New Year’s Day, Shogatsu. They learned how to use chopsticks, and ate a ton of delicious food, including mochi, which are sticky rice cakes. After dinner, everyone got a good night’s rest.
We know the Bullet Train doesn’t go as fast as an airplane – look up just how fast an airplane can go!
What is the meaning of the custom of removing your shoes in a Japanese home? How did it get started?
Practice eating your next meal with chopsticks – it’s tough at first, but you’ll get the hang of it!
Next week, we’ll continue this Japanese adventure!
S. Ciara Mitaro