Halloween is here (part 2)

IMG_1326Have you ever wondered why the Halloween colours are usually orange and black?
It is common knowledge that there is a strong link between present-day Halloween and the ancient Celts. Do you suppose that the colour-scheme can also be traced back that far? Although there are in fact many contrasting theories, the most likely explanation is that, according to Celt tradition, orange does in fact represent the harvest. Black, on the other hand, represents the dark nights of winter and death. Orange can also mean strength and courage, whereas black usually refers to mystery or evil.


Well, now we know..


Halloween is here (part 1)

10401948_714920031896836_6259618325914008542_nIt seems to me that every year, Halloween in Japan just gets more and more popular. There are pumpkins everywhere! But have you ever thought about why this particular holiday is called ‘Halloween’? There is in fact a very interesting explanation.
From some time in the 8th Century, the Catholic church designated November 1st as a day to celebrate its saints. The holiday was known as All Saints day or All Hallows day, with the word Hallow meaning ‘holy’. In the 16th century , it was decided that the night before should be named All Hallows’ Eve (or in old English, ‘All Hallows’ even’.) Over the years, the name became shortened to the present-day version of ‘Halloween’.
日本では、ハロウィーンは年々人気になっています。どこへ見ても、カボチャだらけですね。しかし、この Halloweenと言う言葉の意味を考えた事がありますか?実は、8世紀頃からカトリック教では、毎年11月1日は諸聖人の日として祝われていました。それは All Hallows’ day もしくは All Saints’ day と言われています(hallow =神聖)。16世紀になるとクリスマスイブと同じように、その前夜を All Hallows’ even, と呼ばれる様になりました。その内、その言葉が短縮され、現在のHalloween になりました。下手な説明ですみません。けど、このハロウィーンのネーミングについて少しでも分かって頂けたら嬉しいです。

One of the staples of Halloween is the pumpkin lantern, otherwise known as a  jack o’ lantern. But, did you know that IMG_1245originally, these lanterns were not made from pumpkin, but from a yellow turnip? There are many different stories about how these jack o’ lanterns came about, but the true origin is still rather unclear. However, we do know that from the 19th century onwards, in Scotland and Ireland lanterns made from carved-out turnips were made and displayed on October 31st with the purpose of scaring off evil spirits. When the Irish immigrated to the USA, they took the custom with them. With abundant crops of pumpkins available, they started using this vegetable as an alternative to turnips and this version soon became the popular one.

ハロウィーンの定番と言えば、カボチャ提灯です。英語で、‘ジャック・オ・ランターンと呼ばれています。しかし、知っていましたか?元々カボチャではなく、yellow turnip (カブ)から作られていた物でした。この提灯ジャックについていろいろな伝説がありますが、本当のルーツは今にも知られていないようです。だが、おそらく 19世紀からスコットランドやアイルランドでは、悪霊達を遠ざける効果があると思われ、ハロウィーンの10月31日によく作られるようになりました。アメ リカへ移民したアイルランド人がこの伝統を守り、その内アメリカでは生産の多かったカボチャの提灯に変化しました。

Next time, I’ll be talking about the colours of Halloween and why we wear costumes. Until then…..


It’s festival time!

I just love Japan in the Autumn. After the stifling heat of the summer, the season brings dry, sunny days that are perfect for a garden barbecue. As the leaves turn red, yellow and golden brown, the shops displaFullSizeRendery an abundance of newly harvested chestnuts and sweet potatoes. And from September onwards, the sound of the drummers preparing for the festival carries through the cool night air. IMG_1251Kishiwada hosts two Danjiri festivals, the first of which, held in September, is the more famous. In October, however, the towns towards the mountainside hold their own festivals, with men, teenage boys and girls, and even young children pulling the carved wooden danjiri cart around the neighbourhood. It’s hard not to feel a thrill as the parade of carts passes by my house, leaving behind the echoes of the drums, pipes and yells of the team as they encourage each other to pull harder as they speed around the corner.


Shaun in the City

10354756_10153031215170064_1339464041759003220_n今年日本では羊年ですね。Here in Japan it’s the year of the sheep. 実は私も羊年生まれです。関係しているかどうか分かりませんが、小さい頃から羊が大好き!動物として可愛いし、ラム肉も美味しくてたまらな い!Actually, I was born in the year of the sheep. I’m not sure if it is in anyway connected, but I have always loved sheep. As animals, I love their seeming absurdity and as for their meat, I’ve always found it irresistibly delicious! But I digress….12046841_10153031215030064_6237187999076860228_n
今日は皆さんにお届けしたい話題は私が日本で高校生を教えていた頃に初めて出会った羊のショーンの最新ニュースです。Today I want to bring to you the latest news of Shaun the Sheep, a character I first met back when I was teaching at High School here in Japan.『ウォレスとグルミット』シリーズの中編映画『ウォレスとグルミット、危機一髪』 Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave (1995年)に登場する羊のショーンを主人公としていました。 Shaun the Sheep first appeared in 1995 as a central character in ‘Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave’. 2007年より英国放送協会 (BBC) で羊のショーンのスピンオフシリーズとして放送されています。From 2007 onwards, he has appeared in his own spin-off series broadcast by the BBC. そして今年ついに映画となりました。And finally, this year, he has made it into his own movie。
12063605_10153031215970064_8220559924403918682_n今年の春から夏末にかけて、首都ロンドンとこのアニメーションが生まれた街ブリストルで、120体のカラフルなショーンたちが街中に展示されました。This year, an exhibition of special Shaun the Sheep sculptures (Sean in the city) appeared from the Spring to the end of Summer, in both the Capital city London and Bristol, the home of Shaun’s creators. 10月8日に
このショーンのオブジェは競売に出される予定です。このShaun in the City はイギリス国内の病気で苦しむ子供たちへの募金活動を目的とした、イギリスらしいチャリティイベントです。On October 8th, these sculptures will be 12038390_10153031214930064_2358270022469490932_nauctioned off.  ‘Shaun in the city’ is a typically British, charity event aimed at raising money for children in hospitals all over the UK. 素晴らしいですね。How wonderful. 競売される前、9月24日から27日までの間、最後にロンドンのコベントガーデンで皆さんの前に再び現れました。Before they are auctioned off, they made one last appearance at London’s Covent Garden from 12065931_10153031213995064_884818332221371341_nSeptember 24th to 27th. White Rose CCCのオンサイト取材者、Mr Sean Cawleyはたくさんの写真を撮ってくれたました。White Rose CCC’S on site reporter, Mr Sean Cawley, managed to take lots of photographs for us. 本当に可愛いですね、二人共のショーン君! Absolutely adorable: both Shaun and Sean!



Anyone for tea?

Here in Japan、 this week we have a five-day weekend, rather glamorously named as Silver Week. It consists of the Saturday/Sunday weekend for those who work week days only, Respect for the Aged day, National day and Autumnal Equinox day. For those lucky enough, the long weekend started on the 19th and lasts until the 23rd.


Unfortunately for me, the long weekend falls just before payday..ahem.. so I’ve been spending my time pottering around at home , catching up with chores.


Contrary to popular opinion, we Brits do not sit down for Afternoon Tea every day, but we do drink endless cups of tea. In IMG_1184fact, did you know that in the UK, a total of 165 million cups of tea are consumed every day!


If, like me, you’re enjoying just relaxing at home during the holidays, why not try one of my favourite teas?


You can find Williamson teas at Kaldi or on Amazon Japan.

このWilliamson の紅茶はKaldiAmazon Japan で販売されています。

Happy holidays everybody!