Friday, 24 February 2012

Japanese Amulets

Japanese Amulets or Omamori (in Japanese) are commonly sold at a Shinto Shrine or a Buddhist Temple. The Amulets serve to provide various forms of luck or protection. The Japanese Amulet covering is usually made of cloth with pieces of papers or pieces of wood with prayers written on them. This is supposed to bring good luck or protection to the owner and is also used to ward off bad luck. Well this is good as a souvenir for family and friends for well wishing. 
Various kind of Japanese Amulets from different parts of Japan

Japanese Amulets provide blessings and protection, or may have a specific focus, and this is some of its function:
Yaku Yoke- Avoidance of evil
Kaiun- Open luck
Anzan- Protection for pregnant women and safe delivery.
Gakugyo Joju- For students' education and passing of examination.
En Musubi- Acquisition of a mate and marriage. For singles and couples to ensure 
                     love and marriage.
Kotsu Anzen- Traffic safety. Protection for drivers and travelers of all sorts.
Kanai Anzen- For good health.
      Shobai Hanjo- Prosperity in business. Success in business and matters of money. 

So choose wisely which one to get for your own good :-)
Matcha deciding which one to get.
The Japanese Amulets should never be opened in order to avoid losing its power. Old Japanese Amulets are usually returned to the same shrine or temple where it was obtain so it can be disposed properly once it served it’s purposed (in some believes). This is commonly done after New Year. This way the shrine or temple visitor has a fresh start for the New Year with a new Omamori. And also if a shrine or a temple visitor cannot find a Japanese Amulets for their needs, they can make a request from the priest or monk to have one made special for their needs. 

One advice, please do not throw the old amulets into the rubbish bin or trash, have some respect. Just burn it properly. A Japanese Amulet usually cost around 200 Yen to 1000 Yen (around B$3 to B$15) depending on it's purpose, and remember one thing if you buy a Japanese Amulets, it is considered as a donation to the temple or shrine. Share the photos of the Japanese Amulets you got or received as a gift from friends and family with us at our Facebook page. We would like to hear your story :-)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Japan Valentine's Day

Unlike a normal Valentine’s Day, In Japan, it is only the women who give presents (mainly chocolates) to men. Japanese women are believed to be shy to express their love. (Well I don’t know about now) Therefore, Valentine's Day is an opportunity for women express their feelings.

But wait there is a different meaning with the chocolates the women give to men. Chocolates given to men whom women don't feel special love are called "giri (obligation)-choco (chocolate)" in Japan usually to co-workers and bosses. Women tend to give special gifts with chocolates to those men whom they love and this is called "honmei choco” (prospective winner). Nowadays many young Japanese girls tend to exchange chocolate gifts with their female friends. These chocolates are called "tomo choco" (Friends).

Not so fast Men....... a month later on March 14th men are supposed to return gifts to women. This is called "White Day". This is only found commonly in Japan. On this day men who received gifts of chocolate have the chance to return the favour by giving the women who gave them the gifts of chocolate a more expensive box of chocolate or sweets, or other gifts priced slightly higher than the chocolate the women gave them. The gifts that men buy are in white boxes (well it’s called "White Day") and come with separate shopping bags to put them in. Well it’s really up to the men whether or not he will return the gifts to the women, depending on their feelings.

But..... it is said that this custom is created by chocolate companies to boost their sales, and yes it is very successful. Now the chocolate companies in Japan sell more than half of their annual sales during the week before Valentine's Day :-) Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Meet Matcha, Online Tomodachi Mascot

Meet Matcha, our Online Tomodachi Mascot. 

Matcha means Green Tea (powder form), that's where the inspiration of the mascot came from. And why Matcha as mascot if you ask, well because most Japanese people likes to drink green tea or mix green tea to many foods or drinks such as Mochi, Soba, Sweets and even Ice-cream (to name a few). So green tea is very important in Japan & drinking green tea gives you good health. In a way Matcha (Mascot) is here to wish all our Online Friends a very good health and thank you for visiting Online Tomodachi Blog.

Special thanks to the talented Ms. Masa for creating and drawing Matcha for Online Tomodachi :-)