Sunday, January 02, 2011

Hello Japan! January mini-challenge: Something New

Hello Japan!
Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there will be a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. Anyone is welcome to join in any time. You can post about the task on your blog. Or if you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment on the Hello Japan! post for the month. Everyone who completes the task will then be included in the drawing for that month's prize. For more information, just click on the Hello Japan! button above, or if you have any questions please feel free to email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com.

January's Topic

It's a new year! A time to say farewell to the previous year and to think about what we'd like to accomplish in the year ahead. Whether you set yourself specific New Years Resolutions, or not, the New Year is often the the time to encourage ourselves to try something new.

For the November 2010 mini-challenge, the Hello Japan! meme, you were asked to answer five questions about your experiences with Japanese literature and culture. One of the questions was "What is something Japanese that you'd like to try but haven't yet had the chance?" Well, now you have an opportunity to do just that.

January's Task

This month the task is to try something Japanese that you haven't before.
You could read a book by a Japanese author you haven't had a chance to read yet. You could eat a particular Japanese food that you've been wanting to try. You could watch a film by a director or actor you haven't seen before. You could try your hand at doing or making something Japanese, and so on. The key here is simply that whatever you do, it should be something new to you.

January's Prize

In keeping with the New Year theme, and as 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, this month's prize is a chirimen rabbit strap, and a rabbit magnet, from an original etegami design by dosankodebbie. Check out some of dosankodebbie's etegami cards and goods in her etsy shop, Etegami Emporium.

To be eligible for the prize, you must complete this month's mini-challenge by writing a blog post and adding a link to your post, or leaving a comment with your answers on this post. Or if you prefer, you can also email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com with your submission. You are welcome to post or comment more than once and add the relevant links below. I love it when you are enthusiastic about a topic! However, each participant will receive only one entry per month. It doesn't matter if you've won previously, you're eligible each month that you participate. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Once you have completed the task, don't forget to come back here to add your link to the Mr. Linky below. Please submit the link to the actual post, not just to your top page, and please only submit links to posts relating to the Hello Japan! task for this month. Any other links will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding.

Happy New Year!


  1. I'd love to join this meme. But is it open to everyone?

  2. Aleetha - Sure, anyone is welcome to join in the mini-challenge. Just do something Japanese that you have never done before this month, then tell us about it by either posting on your blog if you have one, or in a comment here. :)

  3. Glad to hear it. I have one book of Japanese Author that I have never read. I am about to do it next week.
    feel so excited to participate in this meme

  4. I found your blog last summer, and vowed to do all the challenges, but the bookmark got lost in my huge list, so I have spent the entire morning googling to find your blog, and finally I have!

    I will definitely be taking part, and posting the challenges on my YA book review blog.

    I am wondering, I have read manga before, but if I tried out a completely different author, would that be counted as "completely different"?

    If not, I think I will try and do a Japanese craft. Google is my friend! ^^

  5. Something new?
    Hmmm...the simplest one is reading a new author :)
    I have asked for omiyage from my Japanese Student last month, lets see if he brings something new for me.
    I'd love to wear Kimono, like I said in the meme, but that would be difficult to find.

    You've started 2011 with a wide but difficult challenge ;)

  6. I am thinking about this challenge and I admit it's difficult. It is hard for me to find something Japanese I haven't try befor and it's possible to do right now (in this month). I could read a new author or watch a film by a new director, or eat something I haven't eat befor, but it would be too easy, I suppose. Well, I'll think a little more.

    This one IS a challenge, indeed. ^^

  7. Great mini-challenge and the price is greater. I was born in the year of the rabbit. I have to try to accomplish the challenge by all means.

  8. The bunny is so adorable.. Thanks for letting me know it's the year of the Rabbit. I have to wait till the lunar New Year is here before I know about it! :D

    I'll see if I can squeeze in a new Japanese author this month!

  9. Aleetha - Sounds good. I'm looking forward to hearing about your new-to-you author.

    Jean - Welcome back! I'm glad you were able to find your way here again. Either of your ideas would be perfect for this month's challenge. The new manga author, or trying a Japanese craft. Or both. :P

    Novroz - It doesn't have to be difficult though. Wearing a kimono, perhaps yes. But like you said, reading a new Japanese author would be absolutely fine. So, what did your student bring you?

    litera - What I had in mind for this month's mini-challenge was exactly that though - reading a new author, trying a new food, etc. It really doesn't have to be too difficult! :)

    Sabrina - A very happy Year of the Rabbit to you! Good luck with the challenge, I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.

    JoV - Japan adopted the Western calendar about 140 years ago, replacing the Chinese lunar-solar one. So we get to start our animal year early here. :)

  10. I have imported some new Japanese snacks I didn't try before. So there will be that. Including this Hello Panda snack a friend gave to me :)

  11. Uniflame - Sounds good! I look forward to hearing more about your new snacks. :)

  12. I don't know how I could've missed this post! Hmm, I was thinking of cooking something Japanese with an ingredient that I haven't tried before. I still have have about 2 weeks to do that. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else will have tried this month :)

    NB. The bunny is very, very cute!

  13. Hehehe ... I have the first post *again* Will post the second one on my new experience in reading Japanese children book in Japanese language

  14. Chinoiseries - I'm curious which ingredient it is that you're planning to use. Looking forward to hearing about your cooking adventure. :P

    Novroz - Well, you're definitely the most enthusiastic participant! :)
    How's the children's book in Japanese coming? I'm planning to read a new manga/author this weekend.

  15. Slow :(
    I only read it when I am at home but lately, I was too tired to read. I will try to spend 1 day to finish and write it.

  16. Completed! I read a new author, Yoko Ogawa. Wish I could find some new Japanese snacks, just stuck with sushi for lunch instead!

  17. Yay, started the new year trying some new stuff! First post is up.. may many follow ;)

  18. I have posted about discovering Banana Yoshimoto.

  19. People suggested I make a bento box but I wasn't that creative (and didn't have an opportunity to eat lunch outside the house). Sushi it was.

  20. Novroz - I hate that when I'm too tired to read. Don't worry about finishing it this month just for the challenge. You've already posted twice, after all. :)

    Sam - Yoko Ogawa was a new-to-me author last year and I loved both books that I've read so far. I'm so glad you got a chance to read her.

    Gnoe - Sounds good! :)

    Sabrina - Great! And it sounds like it was a good discovery.

    Judith - Your experience of trying sushi for the first time made for an awesome post! Maybe next time you can try a bento. ;)

  21. I posted in January on the 1st novel in Yukio Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy, Spring Snow-really powerful work, IMO

  22. Here goes.. my first book of Junichiro Tanizaki, Quicksand. 1 day before closing. phew.

    They say Rabbit is my year... fingers crossed! :)

  23. I have been umming and ahhing about whether or not to blog about my "try something new and Japanese" experience because I did it for my birthday and I don't like to advertise when my birthday is, but it makes for such a fun story that I think I will sneak it in tomorrow, just in time! I'll be back with the link.

  24. Writing a challenge post took me more time than reading texts about or written by Mishima. ^^' Now I can say: done!

  25. I just added a link to my blog post, about hiring a karaoke booth at a Japanese restaurant. It was great fun!

  26. While reading a comics novel, "The Unwritten," I discovered the illustrations of Yuko Shimizu, . She is based in NYC now, but she did grow up in Japan. I was struck by her drawings, which led off each 'chapter' of this book and are credited as the 'original series covers.'

    This is from her website: 'I
    grew up in Japan in the 1960s and 70s with comic books and TV cartoons. I naturally started drawing by imitating them. I stopped reading comics or watching anime by the early 80s, but by then I wasn't able to get rid of my early influences and actually hating it. After I moved to New York and started art school, my initial goal was to learn to draw and paint “like an American”. It didn't take long to realize that din’t work. I just don’t think, paint, or use colors like Americans among other things. My instructors helped me realize it is OK to being a Japanese person who’s work had early influences of my own popular culture. Of course, the process was not easy as it sounds here. It took me a long time, starting from learning not to hate my own work.'

    While doing more research on her, I discovered via Wikipedia that the woman who created 'Hello Kitty' has the same name but is no relation to this artist.

  27. I've been thinking about this challenge all month and couldn't decide what to do until earlier today. I've enjoyed reading how everyone else answered the challenge.

  28. mel u - I have Spring Snow here to read one of these days. Thanks for sharing your review.

    JoV - I need to read more by Tanizaki. I've only read The Makioka Sisters, which I loved. Happy Year of the Rabbit to you!

    Nose in a book - I loved reading about your karaoke night out. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    litera - Sorry the post took you a long time to write but well done! :)

    Teresa - I took a look at her website. She has an interesting style, some of them are very stunning. Thanks for mentioning her.

    sbk - I'm glad you were able to join in time. I really enjoyed reading everyone's posts too.


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