From Celebrating to Wishing

Life is full of stories. It’s the second time I spend my (precisely my husband’s – I am always at home) winter holidays in Okinawa, this southern resort, and this time I would get a memory of being cold again. This year it is much warmer here than the last year, when we walked around the city through the wind pulling the shoulders hard and rattling the teeth, but the hotel we stay has no room heater. When I found it I was surprised than being disappointed, to know that here people don’t regard a heater as a necessary tool. We borrowed some blankets from this hotel for keep us from cold for only a short time of early morning.
Now it is at night, the room is warm enough without a heater, and there is only 90 mins left for this year.

Before coming here I had written and send all my greeting cards for my friends and acquaintance. Sending cards in new year has been a tradition in Japan and even now it is half a duty and half a seasonal pleasure. By writing on the cards in a special format and sending them in December, the post office will save them until the new year’s day, when they are delivered all at the same day. For this service the post office hires many part-time workers, most of who would be high school students. Even the school recommend this job to the youth, because it would be a legal and sound work to earn their own money.

But this year might be unusual in Japan, because of that disaster in this March.

In Japan people use a word “Omedetou おめでとう” in new year’s greeting, which means just “celebration,” not including “wish”. Thus those who had lost their close relatives in that year do not write the new year greeting (within the year they send the seasonal greeting without celebration).
And this year, perhaps all Japanese would have a feeling as if they had lost thousands of their closest relatives.

For the first time I thought about abstaining from sending greeting cards. But when I heard a news that the people in the area damaged by tsunami was trying to restore their address book for sending their greeting cards, I decided to send mine, too.

However I could not write “Omedetou.” instead, I wrote, “I wish the next year would bring happiness to all.”

After I wrote the message, the idea came to me, that it is very nice decision not to write the celebrating word. Until this year I had not thought about other people in Japan and the world – there had been obviously many people losing lives of themselves or their lovable ones, suffering from disease, poverty, famine, violence, and many bad things. If I had realized that earlier, I could not have written “Omedeto”, since that time.

So I will never write “Omedeto” in my greeting cards, until all people in the world could be able to celebrate the coming year together.

I wish you a happy new year 2012.

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