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Children’s Day

May 28, 2011

May 5 is Children's Day in Japan, when families celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children. It became a national holiday in 1948, but it has been a day of celebration in the Asian country since ancient times.

The Facts

In ancient Japanese times, the fifth day of the fifth month was traditionally called Tango no Sekku and was a festival for boys only. Girls had their own festival, called Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), held on the third day of the third month.

Today Children's Day families with boys fly huge carp-shaped streamers (koinobori) outside the house and display dolls of famous warriors and other heroes inside. The carp was chosen because it symbolizes strength and success; according to a Chinese legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon.

In recent years, as more people have moved into apartments and smaller houses, the carp streamers have also gotten smaller, and there are now miniature versions that decorate the indoors.

Also on this day, families often take baths sprinkled with iris leaves and roots. This is because the iris is thought to promote good health and ward off evil. Rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves and filled with sweet bean paste, called kashiwamochi, are also eaten.

The Scene

On May 5 of each year, events highlighting children are held throughout the country of Japan. At the National Kasumigaoka Stadium in Tokyo, tens of thousands of children and their parents participate in a Kids' Olympics. It has the look and feel of the real thing, since the National Kasumigaoka Stadium was the main arena for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. It even features a torch relay, and there are races for parents and kids in different age groups.

Many activities involve the arts. At the Yokohama Noh Theater one year, a kyogen recital was held that featured 18 young actors. The youngest of them was a second grader and the oldest was in the seventh grade.

Kyogen is a type of comic theater that was founded around 600 years ago and is performed with traditional costumes and a distinctive acting style. The kids had been attending practices once or twice a week since the summer of 1996 to learn the unique comic expressions, movements, and uses of the fan. One of the pieces performed was called Shibiri, in which a servant claims he can't run an errand for his master because every time he tries to do so his leg falls asleep.

The theater was packed with parents and friends, who not only enjoyed the humorous pieces but were also extremely impressed with the kids' convincing performances.

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General In The Forums

Nandez
Nandez posted in Say Anything:
thanks for posting this Kristen. I think that it is a tough subject to talk about with other people and honestly I think it's good to talk about it in a moderate amount. Now that more pepole are being diagnosed with learning differences or some sort of other mental health disorder, I think that talking about it and informing people will only make it easier for people to feel less awkward or the odd man out. That's how I found about that I am not the only person in the room who has ADD. I'm more willing to come out and talk to people and discribe what I have to go through on a daily basis to raise awareness. School will always be hard for me so I look at my strengths to help push me forward in life. 
reply about 6 hours
AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Say Anything:
Oh wow, a genuine trigger warning. Did the memes teach you nothing?  First off, an actual warning. Take no action based on what you've read here without first consulting a mental health professional.  Now, I have a lot of experience in mental illness. I have ADHD(Pre-DSMV), an anxiety disorder, and I've tested significant for bipolar (Pre-DSMV).  My best advise is to find a therapist that you personally connect with. It's not about being comfortable, because a good therapist will challenge your thoughts, but you need to be able to accept those challenges. And to do that, you'll need a therapist that you mesh with.  Aside from that, good medication can go a long way to helping you live with your mental issues. However, this isn't true for everyone, and it should be handled by a medical professional. 
reply about 6 hours
AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Say Anything:
I mean, it's a problem, but it's a problem that most all hormonal teens go through. 
reply about 6 hours
jordand08
jordand08 posted in Say Anything:
Yes, there's so many things I wish I was told that I wasn't.
reply about 8 hours
Kirsteeeeen
This is great, Kris! Loved it.  Thank you :) It's one of those things I wish someone had said to me in the past, y'know?
reply about 8 hours