Kitsuke for kimono / 着物の着付け


I had “kitsuke” of kimono to a friend of mine, Ms. S in the beginning of December. Her daughter’s school had a party at hotel for student’s parents, therefore she wanted to wear a Japanese traditional cloth. It was good opportunity to introduce one of Japanese cultures to other parents who were from many different countries.

※着付け(きつけ/ kitsuke):人に着物を着せること
To dress someone in kimono (Noun)


She has a kimono which was tailored in Japan, which had a delicate and stylish pattern on a dark purple silk. That was extremely beautiful. She also learned how to wear kimono by herself, however she gave me an opportunity to do that in Amsterdam.


There are many Japanese people who don’t know how to wear kimono, actually I can tell, “Most of Japanese people cannot wear kimono by themselves”. I used to be one of them until I learned it at a Kimono school.


Now, let me get back on the track. 
We could use a dressing room of spa at hotel and I did kitsuke there. She looked super elegant in kimono! Her friends who saw her said, “Beautiful!”, “Wonderful!”, “Gorgeous!” and more. I think many of them saw a real kimono for the first time. Her kimono was tailored just for herself and it suited her well. I was also impressive like them.


I know that an evening dress is gorgeous as well, however kimono has some classic and glamorous tastes with a very-Japanese-simbolic-style and it is different, I felt. 


By the way, I made “kawari-obi” instead of “otaiko” for an obi-belt as her requested. To be hounest, this was my first challenge to make this shape, however, it was good that I could make it without any problem.

変わり帯(かわりおび / kawari-obi)


This was my first kitsuke after I came to the Netherlands. It was a special night for me since since I could feel she was happy in kimono and I could see how her friends reacted. Also I was very impressed by the beauty of kimono and a lady in kimono.


I am very appreciated it to Ms. S that I could have a great opportunity because of her. I learned a lot from this experience. It is also thankful that she allowed me to use her photos on my blog.


Thank you very much, Ms. S!

You can check the detail about kitsuke on this page.

★おまけの写真 / Extra photos
I took these photos on my way home from hotel after kitsuke.

Japanese greetings for the end and beginning of the year. / 年末年始に使う日本語の挨拶


Today, I would like to introduce a couple of Japanese phrases which Japanese people often say as greetings in the end and beginning of the year.

★年末(ねんまつ)の挨拶:  Greeting phrase for the end of the year. Used until 31 Dec.

–良いお年をお迎えください。(よい おとしを おむかえください。/ Yoi otoshi o omukaekudasai.)
Hope you will have a good new year.

This a formal way to wish a happy new year until 31st Dec. The casual way is “良いお年を!(よい おとしを! / Yoi otoshi o)”.

e.g. ) Usually, A and B say those phrases almost at the same time. Needless to say, please don’t forget to take a bow during saying these!

A:  今年もお世話になりました。来年もよろしくお願いします。
ことしも おせわに なりました。らいねんも よろしく おねがいします。
Kotoshi mo osewani narimashita. Rainen mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu. Yoi otoshi o omukaekudasai.
Thank you for your kindnees this year as well. Thank you in advance for all your support for this coming year. Hope you will have a good new year.

B:  こちらこそお世話になりました。来年もよろしくお願いします。
こちらこそ おせわになりました。らいねんも よろしく おねがいします。
Kochirakoso osewani narimashita. Rainen mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.
Thank you too.Thank you in advance for all your support for this coming year.

★年始(ねんし)の挨拶:  Greeting phrase for the new year. Used from 1 Jan.

–明けましておめでとうございます。(あけまして おめでとう ございます。/ Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu.): Happy new year.

今年もよろしくお願いします。(ことしも よろしく おねがいします。 / Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.):
Thank you for all your support for this year in advance.

e.g. ) Usually, A and B say those phrases almost at the same time. Needless to say, please don’t forget to take a bow during saying these!

A:  明けましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。
あけまして おめでとう ございます。ことしも よろしく おねがいします。
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Happy New year. Thank you for all your support for this year in advance.

B:  明けましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。
あけまして おめでとう ございます。ことしも よろしく おねがいします。
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Happy New year. Thank you for all your support for this year in advance.


You can say to your close friends, “あけおめ!ことよろ!” It is a very casual way and often used among young people.


There are some Japanese words and phrases which are difficult to translate to English and “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” is one of them. The good way to practice understanding the real meaning of this is seeing how Japanese people use this phrase, then copying and repeating to use it many times. Feel it and you can make it your own!

Japanese words for the end and beginning of the year, part 2. / 年末年始の日本語 その2



Merry Christmas!
Today is a Christmas day. In Japan, the town will be a “Shogatsu-mood” right after Christmas.

By the way, I heard that European people usually spend time with their family on Christmas and spend time with their lovers or friends on nenmatsu-nenshi. Japanese people usually spend time with their lovers or friends on Christmas and spend time with their family on nenmatsu-nenshi.
Of course it depends on each person, but basically it is opposite.


Anyway, I would like to introduce a couple of special Japanese cuisines for the nenmatsu-nenshi.

–年越し蕎麦(としこしそば/ toshikoshi-soba): 大晦日の夜に食べる蕎麦です。午前12時になる前に食べます。私のうちではいつも23時45分頃に食べています。

Soba-noodle (buckwheat needle) which is eaten on New Year’s Eve, before midnight. 
My family have toshikoshi-soba around 11:45pm every year.

海老天蕎麦(えびてんそば / Ebi-ten-soba): A shrimp-tenpura soba
かき揚げ蕎麦(かきあげそば / Kaki-age-soba) : A vegetable-tenpura soba


This is an old and traditional custom, therefore the reason is not clear, however, two reasons below are often said.

1. 「蕎麦は長くて伸びるので、寿命を伸ばして、家運も伸ばしたい」という願いが込められている。

This contains a wish for having a long life and good luck since it is the long shape.

2. 「蕎麦は切れやすいので、一年の苦労や悪いことを切り捨てたい」という気持ちで食べる。

It is eaten with a wish of cutting away bad luck of the past year since soba-noodle is easily cut. 

–御節(おせち/ Osechi): 正月三が日(しょうがつ・さんがにち)に食べる料理で、綺麗な重箱に入っていて豪華(ごうか)です。

A set of traditional dishes served in special boxes called juubako, which are eaten from 1 to 3 Jan. It looks very gorgeous.

*正月三が日(しょうがつ・さんがにち/ Shougatsu-sanganichi): Three days of 1 Jan, 2 Jan and 3 Jan.

御節料理(おせち・りょうり / Osechi-ryouri)

–お雑煮(おぞうに/ Ozouni):これも正月に食べます。お餅が入っているスープです。スープの味は地域によって違います。

This is also eaten on shougatsu, which is a soup containing mocha rice cakes. The flavors of soup and ingredients are vary depending on the region. By the way, dashi of my family’s ozoni soup is “katsuo (bonito)”


お雑煮 1 (おぞうに / ozouni)
お雑煮 2 (おぞうに / ozouni)
お雑煮 3(おぞうに / ozouni)


Now, many shops are open during shougatsu in Japan, however, all shops were closed in old days. That was the reason why people had eaten osechi for three days. I remember when I was a little kid, the town was very very quiet and I loved that atmosphere. I feel sad to lose our old customs although it should be good that the world has become quite a convenient one.


What old and traditional customs do you have in your country?
I bought a soba-noodle to eat it on New Year’s Eve. I’m ready for it!.

Japanese words for the end and beginning of the year, part 1. / 年末年始の日本語 その1


For Japanese people, New Year’s celebration is the biggest event in the year. Family and relatives get together and spend time with. We prepare special dishes and have them with drinks.


There are many special Japanese words for the end and beginning of the year, therefore I would like to introduce some of them which are often used.

新年(しんねん/ shin-nen): A new year

年末年始(ねんまつねんし/ nenmatsu-nenshi): 
the end and beginning of the year

年末(ねんまつ/ nenmatsu):  end of the year

年始(ねんし/ nenshi):beginning of the year

e.g. )
A: 年末年始は何をしますか。
Nenmatsu-nenshi wa nani o shimasu ka.

What are you going to do in the end and beginning of the year?

B: 実家に帰って家族と過ごします。
Jikka ni kaette, kazoku to sugoshimasu.

I go back to my parents’ house and spend days with my family.

※実家(じっか/ jikka):The house someone was born. The parents’ house. 

大晦日(おおみそか / oomishoka): New Year’s Eve

元旦(がんたん / gantan): New Year’s Day

正月(しょうがつ / shougatsu):
The first month of a year, January. The season to celebrate New year.

-仕事納め(しごと-おさめ / shigoto-osame ):
To finish all work in the end of year.

-仕事始め(しごと-はじめ / shigoto-hajime):
To work for the first time on new year.

e.g. 1 )
A: 仕事納めはいつですか。
Shigoto-osame wa itsu desu ka.
When is the last day of working in this year?

B: 28日です。
Nijuu-hachi nichi desu.
It’s 28th.

e.g. 2 )
A: 仕事始めはいつですか。
Shigoto-hajime wa itsu desu ka.
When is the first day of working on new year?

B: 4日です。
Yokka desu.
It’s 4th.

-忘年会(ぼうねんかい / Bou-nen-kai):年末にする飲み会。その年の苦労を忘れるための会。
A drinking party that takes place at the end of the year, to forget bad things in that year.

新年会(しんねんかい / Shin-nen-kai):新年にする飲み会。
A drinking party that takes place at the new year.

別腹(べつばら): Betsubara


One day I was walking on the street and this Japanese word caught my eye.

別腹(べつばら): Betsubara

「別腹(べつばら): Betsubara」


Do you know the meaning of this?

★別(べつ: Betsu)=different, separate, another
★腹(はら、ばら: Hara, Bara)=stomach, belly


【Betsubara】A literal translation of this is “You have another stomach”.
Even though you are very full and cannot take another bite, you still can eat your favorite food. ( You always have room for your favarite food.) 

A: あー、おなかいっぱい。もう何も食べられないよ。
B: 今日、ケーキを買ってきたんだけどな。じゃあ明日食べようか。
A: え、ケーキ?!それは食べる!デザートは別腹だよ!

A: Ahhh, Onaka ippai. Moo nanimo taberarenai yo.
(I’m so full and can’t eat anymore.) 
B: Kyoo keeki o kattekitandakedona. Jaa, ashita tabeyoo ka.
( I bought cakes for desert today but we can eat them tomorrow.)
A: Eh, keeki?! Sore wa taberu! Dezaato wa betsubara dayo!  
(Cake?! I can eat it now. I have room for desert always!)


When I went out to have some drinks with friends of mine in Tokyo, I used to say, “ Ramen wa betsubara dayo! ( I still have room for Ramen!.)”  and went to eat it ramen after we had a big dinner and lots of drinks. I think, I can tell that it is usual for Japanese people and many of us do that. There are many good ramen shops in all over Japan and you can not help it! Especially, you feel like eating it after having some drinks though I do not know the reason why,


What is your “betsubara” ?