Kohaku Uta Gassen is an annual music show on the New Year's Eve produced by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. The most popular music artists of the year are divided into competing teams of red and white. The red team is composed of all female artists while the white team is all male. The show is broadcasted on both television and radio, nationally and internationally by NHK's networks. It ends shortly before midnight.
Soba is traditionally eaten on New Years Eve in most areas of Japan. The tradition is called “Toshikoshi soba”. People have to finish eating soba noodles, before greeting the new year. If they leave half-eaten, it is said that a new year is not blessed with luck with money for them.
The Seven Gods of Fortune are the seven gods of good fortune in Japanese mythology. They are as follows, 1. Ebisu 2. Daikokuten 3. Bishamonten, 4. Benzaiten 5. Fukurokuju 6. Hotei 7. Jurojin Ebisu is the Japanese god of fishermen, good luck and workingmen. Daikokuten(or Daikoku) is the god of wealth, commerce and trade. Bishamonten is the god of warriors. Benzaiten is the goddess of knowledge, art and beauty. Fukurokuju is the god of happiness, wealth and longevity. He is usually portrayed as being bald, with long whiskers Hotei is the fat and happy god of abundance and good health. He is always shown smiling or laughing. Jurojin is the god of wisdom and longevity. The seven gods are often depicted on their ship, the Takarabune (Treasure Ship). It is said that the seven gods will arrive in town on the New Year and distribute fantastic gifts to worthy people.
The Egyptian border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza Strip is under pressure as the Palestinians in the costal enclave tried to cross into Egypt to flee the Israeli attacks. The Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea governed by Hamas. It borders Egypt on the south-west.
The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year's Day postcards to their friends and relatives. They tell others whom they did not often meet that they were alive and well. The Chinese zodiac signs of the New Year are drawn on the New Year's card in many cases. The Chinese zodiac has a cycle of 12 years. Each year is represented by an animal. The animals are, in order: rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar. 2008 is the year of the cow.
Saidai-ji is a temple in the city of Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan. The temple was established by the order of Emperor Shotoku in 765. It is the head temple of the Shingon Ritsu sect of Buddhism. Saidai-ji is the counterpart to Todai-ji. Saidai-ji had many Buddhist pavilions , including two five-storied pagodas and was one of the great seven temples of Nanto(present Nara City). However, it declined at the early Heian period. Many buildings were lost by the fire or the typhoon. The temple was operated by Kofukuji at last. The priest Shakuson of the Kamakura period became a restorer of Saidai-ji. He rendered revival of ruined Saidai-ji for 50 years or more until he died at the age of 90.
More than 95,000 people were affected by two earthquakes in the Yunnan Province of southwest China Friday. A 4.3-magnitude quake hit Yiliang county in Kunming, the provincial capital, at about 2:19 a.m. Friday. Another tremor measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale struck Ruili city on the China-Myanmar border at 4:20 a.m. Friday. Yiliang County is a county, under the jurisdiction of Kunming Prefecture, Yunnan, China.
The Chinese naval task force set sail at 1:50 p.m. Friday from a port here in the southernmost island province of Hainan for Somalia. The ships will take part in an escort mission against piracy. Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and the supply ship Weishanhu from the South China Sea Fleet will cruise for about 10 days before arriving in the Gulf of Aden.
Muro-ji is the head temple of Muro-ji group of the Shingon sect ,located in Uda City, Nara Prefecture, Japan. The temple was said to be founded by En no Ozunu in 680. However, according to the Shoku-Nihongi, a Buddhist monk named Kenkyo, practiced religious austerities here to pray for the recovery of the Crown Prince Yamabe (next Emperor Kammu). Since Imperial Prince Yamabe recovered splendidly, Kenkyo who was a priest of Kofuku-ji built the temple there by the order of Emperor. The temple has been famous for welcoming women, and is therefore known as "Female Koya" as the other Shingon Temples were traditionally exclusively for men. Kukai established a monastery on Mount Koya, which became the head of the Shingon sect of Buddhism.
The death toll from a powerful explosion in a south Ukrainian apartment block has risen to 22, with 15 others still missing, media reports said Thursday. Two entrances to the five-storey building in Yevpatoria were blocked by falling concrete following the blast. The cause is unknown, although officials say that gas cylinders may be to blame. Yevpatoria is a city in Crimea, Ukraine.
Okuni was known for her skill in dancing and acting, as well as her beauty. During her performances in the dry riverbeds of Kyoto , she also became known for her nembutsu dance, in honor of the Amida Buddha. The history of Kabuki began when Okuni began performing a new style of dance drama on the stage at Kitano Tenmangu in 1603.. Female performers played both men and women. The style was instantly popular. Okuni was even asked to perform before the Imperial Court.
A gas leak at a steel plant in the Chinese city of Zunhua, about 150km east of the capital, has killed 17 people, while more than 20 others have also been seriously injured by the incident. state media said. Zunhua is a county-level city of Tangshan, Hebei.
Lake Tazawa is aclassic caldera lake surrounded by the wide crest of a crater in Akita Prefecture,Japan. It is the deepest lake in Japan (423.4m). The bronze stature of the legendary Princess Tatsuko, standing on the shore, is a symbol of the lake. Several hot springs resorts can be found in the hills above the lake, including Nyuto Spas.
The Shimanto-gawa is a river in western Kochi Prefecture, Japan. The headwaters of the Shimanto River start in Miyama and it winds 196 kilometers down into Tosa Bay. The river is considered one of the cleanest and most beautiful rivers in Japan, along with the Nagara River in Gifu Prefecture and the Kakita River in Shizuoka Prefecture.. The river is certified as one of Japan's 100 remarkable waters by Ministry of Environment.It has no big dams and is the last free flowing river without banks in Japan. The river also has 47 chinkabashi that are. bridges without parapets in order not to be washed away by floods. The bridges sink with the water level when the river floods.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's personal train has made several recent trips, South Korean media reported. It may be the latest indication that the reclusive leader has recovered from his recent poor health. South Korean and US intelligence confirmed the train's movement with satellites and surveillance planes, according to South Korean media.
The Kurama-dera Cable is a funicular line operated by Kurama-dera. As a legally recognized Japanese railway line, this is the only one operated by a religious institution. Kurama-dera is a temple in Kurama-Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Japan. It was founded by Fujiwara-no-Isendo in 796. Kurama-dera is prominent as a place where Ushiwakamaru (Minamoto-no- Yositune) self-trained. The line is officially called Mount Kurama Cable Railway. The funicular line serves for the visitors to Kurama-dera. The line links from the main gate to the temple that resides in the heart of the Mount Kurama, Although the fare is free, only the people who donated the temple more than \100 is allowed to ride.
Russian riot police have broken up a rally to demonstrate against a new tax on imported cars, being held in the eastern city of Vladivostok. About 500 people had gathered in the city's central square. Witnesses said at least 100 people were detained by police. The tax is intended to help prop up Russia's domestic car industry and prevent people buying cheaper, imported products.
Sri Lankan government troops are battling to capture the Tamil Tiger rebels' stronghold of Kilinochchi. The rebels said they had killed at least 60 soldiers, but the military has said 12 were dead and 12 more missing. The army and rebels have been fighting for weeks. Killinochchi is a small city in the Kilinochchi District, part of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
Tsumago-juku was the forty-second of the sixty-nine Shukuba-machi(post towns) on the Nakasendo, which was one of the two routes that connected Edo (present Tokyo) to Kyoto in Japan. It is located in Nagiso Town, Kiso District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It has been restored to its appearance as a Edo-era post town. Therefore, the tourists are enjoying the atmosphere of Edo-era in Tsumago,.
Dosan Line is a Japanese railway line ,operated by Shikoku Railway Company, between Tadotsu Station in Tadotsu, Kagawa prefecture and Kubokawa Station in Shimanto, Kochi prefecture iin Shikoku. The first section of the line, between Tadotsu and Kotohira, opened in 1889. The whole line was completed in 1951. Dosan Line connected Kochi to Tadotsu across Shikoku Mountains and Sanuki mountains , and has connected Kubokawa through the inland along the Tosa bay. In the Japanese National Railways era, it was called” Dosan Main Line”, but the JR Shikoku revised the track name to “Dosan Line “in 1988 after its privatization. The special express trains of Nanpu run between Okayama and Kochi, Nakamura, or Sukumo. The Shimanto special express are operated between Takamatsu and Kochi, Nakamura, or Sukumo. The former run 14 laps a day and the latter run 5 laps a day.
Then, Yakushi-ji was relocated to the present location which faced the Rokujo-oji in Heijokyo,following the transfer of the capital to Heijokyo from Asuka (the present day Nara) in 710. The time of the move was 718 A.D, according to“Yakushi-ji-engi” ,written in 1059. The temple moved to Heijokyo eight years after the new capital was settled. However, the Fujiwara-kyo Yakushi-ji remained as Moto Yakushi-ji. There have been two Yakushi-jis at one time.
The ASDF's four-year, nine-month Iraqi airlift mission completed. The remaining 150 members of the ASDF transportation unit at the Kuwait's Ali Al Salem base are scheduled to return home by Tuesday. About 130 ASDF personnel dispatched to Kuwait to help dismantle the unit's facilities will return to Japan in March.