Hundreds of locals took part in a mud festival at Mimusubi Shrine in Yotsukaido, near Tokyo, on Feb 25, to pray for good harvest and good health for babies.

Mud wrestling at Mimusubi Shrine in Yotsukaido, Chiba Mud festival at Mimusubi Shrine in Yotsukaido, Chiba
The men wearing loincloths took part in the ‘mud wrestling’, while the babies would have their forehead marked with some mud as a symbol of blessing (Image courtesy of Eastday)

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Seijin no Hi (成人の日; Coming-of-Age Day) is a national holiday in Japan, which falls on the second Monday in January each year (Jan 14 in 2008). The holiday is for young Japanese who reached the legal age of adulthood (20) to celebrate their new status.

A Coming-of-Age ceremony (成人式; Seijin shiki) is normally held in the morning at local city offices where politicians and academicians will give speeches reminding the new adults of their social responsibilities.

The young adults would often visit a shrine after the ceremony to make their wishes before started partying (with plenty of drinks I guess).

Ladies coming-of-age are often seen wearing furisode (a style of kimono) on the day, which makes it a special day for otaku photographers as well…

Kimono girls are photographers favourite on Seijin no Hi
Photographers’ paradise (Image courtesy of MyMapOfJapan)

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Family photos of the Japanese Imperial Family, released in conjunction with New Year celebration by the Imperial Household Agency.

Japanese Imperial family photo 2008
Japanese Imperial Family – (sitting from left) Crown Princess Masako, Princess Aiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Prince Akishino, Prince Hisahito, Princess Akishino;
(standing from left) Princess Kako and Princess Mako

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Not the usual sexy poll dance though; Japanese fire fighters wearing traditional costumes displayed display their balancing skills atop bamboo poles during an annual New Year demonstration in Tokyo on Jan 6…

Japan firefighters performing on bamboo poles Japan firefighters performing on bamboo poles
Pole dance is good for firefighting? (Image courtesy of Mainichi)

Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) female workers were dressed up in Kimono in a ceremony to kick start their first trading day in 2008 on Jan 4.

Tokyo Stock Exchange female workers wearing kimono Tokyo Stock Exchange female workers wearing kimono
TSE female workers in kimono (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

The traditional Japanese costume didn’t bring much luck though, as the Nikkei 225 index was down 616.37 points on closing… their lowest in one and a half years.

For the first time in the 400 year history of the (Japanese) Geisha, a Westerner has been accepted, and on December 19, made her formal debut under the name Sayuki.

Geisha (芸者) are traditional female Japanese entertainers whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance.

Sayuki, Japan first Westerner Geisha
A screenshot of Sayuki’s website [Hat tip to 3yen and Tokyomango]

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Kibasen (騎馬戦) is a traditional Japanese game played by Japanese school boys.

The basic of the game involved 4 players on each side, with 3 people (horse) carrying a rider on top. The teams would charge at each other, with the riders attempting to remove the hat (or headband) of the opposition rider and thus defeating the team.

Sometimes they would use 4 carriers instead of 3, especially for younger kids that probably need an extra person to carry the weight.
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