How to spend New Year's Eve in Japan
Happy New Year everyone. In Japan, there are some interesting TV programs broadcast on New Year’s Eve, one of most famous is “Kouhaku Uta Gassen”, or “Red and White singing contest” in English. This is a music competition that NHK broadcasts live every New Year’s Eve. Of course, I watched the program this year. There are two teams, women belong to the red one and men belong to the white team. In the case of a mixed group, priority is given to the sex of the main vocal. This program has been on television for 63 years. Basically any singer who had a hit during the year can participate in it. The participants are announced in November and this announcement makes Japanese feel the end of year is coming. The program is broadcast from 7 to 11:45 at night. The program which lasts for four hours 45 minutes is very rare in Japan. Each participant prepares for various surprise performances. My favorite idol group, “Perfume”, held the first concert in the world which created a futuristic stage in which the figures of three people were projected behind it, and were then scattered into a mosaic form. After this program finishes, I go to a shrine to pray for health and happiness every year, as do many Japanese. We also draw a small scroll which tells our fortune for the coming year. In Japan, we tie this fortune to a tree branch because people believe that by doing so, we can make a connection with God. I spend New Year’s Eve in this way.