Happy New Year!

Oshogatsu … The Japanese New Year is a big deal… a much bigger deal than the one night of excessive drinking that Americans generally count as a New Year’s celebration. There are many various celebrations and traditions the Japanese celebrate during the New Year. I’ll let you google for more details, but the basic premise is that each year is new, separate from the previous year. A chance to start fresh, and begin anew. Most of the traditions revolve around that central premise. Beginning on the first of the year, the Japanese take special note of important “firsts.” It is considered good luck to watch the first sunrise of the year (Hatsuhinode.)

At our dojo, we pay special attention to hatsugeiko. The first training of the New Year. Before hatsugeiko begins, everyone cleans the dojo from top to bottom. Once the cleaning is done, the karateka do 1000 punches and kicks, and the kenjutsuka and aikijutsuka do 1000 cuts with the sword. The idea is to begin the new year with a focus and determination in your training.

I didn’t make it to hatsugeiko this year, but thinking about it (and some of the other traditional Japanese New Year’s activities) has made me very conscious of the way I’ve entered into 2012.

I was thoughtful about my first shift at work during the new year (shigotohajime) and made sure to enter the new year with a smile on my face & laughter (waraizome.)

2011 was an excellent year for me. It ended well. I’m thoroughly enjoying my work life, family life, friendships, and most recently, my study of budo. 2012 promises to be even better.


2 Responses to “Hatsugeiko”

  1. Emily Says:

    I know you’ve been since this last post. Give up?

  2. thechubbybudoka Says:

    Of course not, silly. I have a couple of drafts started, but I’m needing time to refine them a bit.

    I think one of my next journal entries will be about the new girl in class who’s really, really mean.


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