Friday, December 4, 2009


As the year winds down and Christmas lights illuminate the evenings, Japan prepares for the next month's festivities as they welcome the New Year.

Susubarai, a tradition hailing as far back as the Edo period is held to welcome luck and prosperity into the home. These years, it also has the added benefit of making moonlit rooms safer to navigate as certain red-suited and jolly men search for cookies by the Christmas tree. Beloved by children across Japan, this is the day to sweep away the old year's luck and welcome the blessings of the gods for the New Year. Suitably, having a clean and impeccable house also makes it less likely to trip and step upon a visiting deity's toes; as even merry Ebisu might only be so patient.

Like many other traditions in Japan, The Great Cleaning Day (or Day of Great Cleaning – depending upon whether you are a bachelor or not) is one carried over from its history with the cultures and peoples of Asian mainland. As stomachs fill with holiday feasts and year-end drinks, and stockings with more shiny and glittery things, let us celebrate Susubarai, The Day that is not a Year of Cleaning despite the many things in my Modest Space, by encouraging romantic bachelors throughout Tokyo to welcome a new girlfriend to this wonderfully traditional custom.

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