Japanese Mr. Hasegawa Celebrates Already the 5th New Year in Yerevan

Japanese Mr. Hasegawa Celebrates Already the 5th New Year in Yerevan


Japanese Mr. Arihiko Hasegawa lives in Yerevan for already five years. In 2000, when visiting Armenia as a tourist, Arihiko was surprised to see how in a country where only a few Japanese lived, youth studied Japanese with such great pleasure.

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After the return from Latin America, the Japanese decided to move to live in Armenia. Here he applied to Yerevan V. Brusov State University of  Languages and Social Sciences to teach Japanese. “When I came to Armenia eight years ago, I met my wife Lilit, who had been studying Japanese for already a year. We made friends but we got married three years ago”, he added.

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Arihiko’s and Lilit’s child is one year old and according to the parents he understands both Armenian and Japanese. This is little Aren’s first conscious New Year, which  is celebrated in Armenian traditions, as in previous years. One day is given for baking mochi.
“We celebrate the Armenian New Year, but on January 7-8 we make Japanese mochi. We pour rice flour into a big bowl, which we start to beat with a special device. After that, we can already make cookies. Generally, in Japan at New Year night we cook toshikoshi soba, which is a Japanese noodle. We eat it just during midnight; it is a sign of longevity. Usually, at New Year Night Japanese go to temple and pray for the year to be successful. There are people, who go to Buddhist temple, where each person hits the bell once and thus 108 bell rings are heard. We have a belief that a person has 108 bad thoughts and with the help of those rings you get rid of those thoughts”, Arihiko presents the Japanese traditions.

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There is no concept of  “Santa Claus” in Japan; people give their children otoshidama – money.  However, Arihiko likes the Armenian tradition to put presents under the Christmas tree, and he has prepared a present for his child.
“I like the Armenian New Year very much, but I don’t like when they eat that much. Wherever you go they tell you to eat, I say in Armenian that I don’t want, but it makes no difference, they make you,” he said laughing.
Japan Embassy in Armenia will be officially opened this year. Arihiko has a great hope that after the opening of the embassy the Armenians and Japanese will cooperate more actively.
“Generally I don’t think of  leaving Armenia”, added Arihiko Hasegawa at the end.

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the material is taken from http://news.am/arm/news/245591.html

translated from Armenian into English by M.Vardanyan