Writer: Karen W.
Editor: Karen W.
Translator: Trang D.

How is everyone spending this winter vacation? In my January article, I already introduced Japanese New Year’s celebration and I hope you enjoyed reading it. I really enjoy the Japanese New Year, which I expressed in that article. (This link’s Japanese New Year’s celebration article
How about you? I hope that our articles on Japanese culture will help bring you closer and closer to the unique traditions of Japan. I am writing a series of articles on “Japanese culture” with the hopes that TIU students, especially our E-track students, can get to learn more about Japanese culture. So, for this month’s article, I would like to introduce the traditional Japanese, Setsubun.

  1. What is Setsubun?

Setsubun (literal translation: seasonal division) is said to have its origins in an event called “Tsuina,” which was held on New Year’s Eve in the Heian period (794-1192) in the Imperial Palace (where the Japanese emperor used to hold political affairs). It is said that this event was a ceremony to drive away the “Toneri”, who dressed up as plague demons, by the “O-shonincho”, who became the “Ho-sou-shi” (a demon-chaser), wearing a four-eyed mask. It is said that the chief priest who participated in this ceremony would use a peach bow and a reed arrow to protect the “O-shonincho”.

Do you know why Setsubun is held in February although it is considered to be a New Year’s Eve event? This is because the calendar used in the Heian period and the modern calendar are different. 

The calendar used today is the “Gregorian calendar (also known as solar calendar),” which is based on the movement of the sun. The lunar calendar used in the past was called the “lunisolar calendar,” and a month started when the new moon cycle began. Since the cycle of the new moon averaged a total of 29.5 days, it was about 11 days shorter than the “solar calendar” year. Today, the “solar calendar” is used but the same date in the “lunisolar calendar” is different from year to year. This New Year’s Eve in the lunisolar calendar was February 3, 2022.

  1. Things to do on Setsubun

 There are two main activities during Setsubun in Japan.

The first activity is “bean-throwing”, which is also done in the “Tsuina” ceremony introduced in the previous section. This year, Setsubun is held on February 3, right before Risshun (February 4), the day markingthe division of two seasons, winter and spring. It is easy to feel the change in temperature when the seasons part, and it is said that we are more prone to colds and other illnesses during this transition time. Therefore, in order to lead a healthy life, it is necessary to drive these “demons” away. The most common way is to throw beans. Since ancient times, “Setsubun” has been held in many parts of Japan as an occasion when people ward off bad luck and wish for happiness in the new year. Exorcising bad luck in Japan is one of the traditions done on New Year’s Eve. Another important thing to remember is when you are throwing beans, you should also shout this out loud: “Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi. (Devils out! Fortune in!”). It is believed that by doing this, we can get rid of “demons” (illness and disasters) and invite “good fortune” (health and happiness) into the house.

The second ritual of Setsubun is to eat the “ehomaki” in silence, facing the direction of the year’s – “eho” (the direction of the god Toshitokujin, which is considered to be the most favorable direction of the year). Ehomaki is a thick sushi roll wrapped in rice and seaweeds, with different types of ingredients from eels, eggs, mushrooms and so forth). It is said that by doing so, one can enjoy prosperity and good health. At the same time, it can be somewhat difficult to eat the ehomaki, you should not cut it into rounds and eat it together with other dishes. This is because “cutting the ehomaki” is said to bring bad luck, since it is associated with the word “karma, meaning that a person’s relationship with another person will be hampered. In my family, we were told that, “If you can eat ehomaki facing the direction of Eboshi without saying a word, your wish will come true. By the way, this year’s direction is “North North West”. As I only know the simple the direction such as east, west, north, south, and northwest, I use a compass every time before eating to confirm the direction. You can check the link below.

  1. How TIU students spend Setsubun

When I asked TIU students, most J-track students (students studying in Japanese track in TIU/ non-Etrack students) answered that they would usually throw beans on Setsubun. That shows how familiar Setsubun is to J-track students. Indeed, I have took part in Setsubun in kindergarten, schools, and in various places as a child. Here is how everyone has spent their “Setsubun“:


Student A

“We throw beans at people wearing demon masks, and the number of beans we eat equals our age.”

Student B

“We usually use soybeans for bean-throwing, but in my family, we want to eat beans without wasting them, so we prepare peanuts.”

Student C

“I buy ehomaki at the supermarket and eat them facing the direction of the year’s blessing.”

Student D

“I enjoy making ehomaki with my family and I always add my favorite ingredients.”

Student E

“I usually go to the Setsubun Festival at the shrine near my house.” 

I experienced my last “Setsubun” at my part-time job, as I finally reached the age when I can start working.”

Student F

I made ehomaki at the sushi restaurant where I work. The pay was higher than usual so we were quite happy, but it is undeniable that we were all exhausted after the busy shift.”

 Thank you very much for reading this article about Setsubun. I hope you learned something new about the culture of Setsubun in Japan! If you have just arrived in Japan and have never eaten ehomaki before, you can always buy them at convenient stores and supermarkets, so please give them a try. When you do, make sure you don’t cut the ehomaki, and try to eat the whole thing in silence. It’s harder than you think! Anyway, that’s all for today’s article. Please look forward to our next article on Japanese culture, which will be on a special cultural event in March called Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Day)!


Writer: Karen W.
Editer: Karen W.



  1. 節分とは



  1. 節分にやること




  1. TIU生の節分の過ごし方



















Writer: Karen W.
Editor:Aika M.








Interview with the Cultural Federation Executive

Writer: Karen W.
Editor: Aika M.
Translator: Ezekiel K.

Hello everyone. How did you make the most of your time at college this past academic year? At the ceremony where I graduated from high school, I was told that “college students should try everything.” In response to this advice, I joined a group that was named “ESS,” despite the fact that I was terrible at English. Sometimes, the more senior members of “ESS,” which I was a part of, would say things like, “I’m going to a meeting of the Cultural Union Executive Committee. So, tell me, what exactly is this “Cultural Union Executive Committee” and how does it function? In order to obtain this information, I was granted the opportunity to speak with the head of the “Cultural Union Executive Committee.”

To start with, the “Cultural Union Executive Committee” is one of the four student organizations at TIU that appear to be known as “Quattro Arra” (four wings in Italian). The “Quattro Arra” comprises the “Executive Committee of the Cultural Union” and three more organizations: the Athletic Association Headquarters, the School Festival Committee, and the Student Association Executive Committee. These four groups (wings) respect students’ perspectives, provide entertainment for students, cultivate the futures of students, and enhance Tokyo International University. If you would like additional information, please visit the following page. Additionally, this material is available in the document library of POTI under Students, 030 Student Life, 2022 Quattro Arra.pdf.

1. Introduction of the Leaders of the Cultural Coalition Executive Committee
First, let me introduce the leaders of the Cultural Union Executive Committee.

*I only asked questions that could be answered, so as to avoid a violation of the privacy of personal information of my interviewee. These points are listed in bullet form below.

Name: Yuta Manaka

Year: the 4th year

Department of International Media Studies, Faculty of International Relations

How I joined the Cultural Coalition Executive:

I was invited by a senior member of the club I belonged to at the time.

I had more opportunities to talk with the chairpersons of each activity, the Student Affairs Division, the Student Association Executive Committee, and the School Festival Executive Committee, and I learned about the events that each organization holds and what goes on behind the scenes.

The process of serving as a leader:
I was recommended by the previous chair of the committee.

Leadership Preparedness:
To do activities moderately and loosely so as not to burden the members.

2. [Question] What kind of organization is the Cultural Coalition Executive Committee?

Activities and tasks:
To maintain contact between the Student Affairs Division and each activity, and to
communicate with each activity regarding matters of communication, questions, and
urging of documents to be submitted, etc., so that the activities of the clubs can run
smoothly. Regularly hold events such as training camps and ball game tournaments.
Hold regular meetings once a month to share information about the club’s activities and the
the student affairs office.

The number of people involved in the activity: approx. 20

Period of activity: All year round

The organization’s action policy:
To ensure that club activities run smoothly, accurate communication is made, and
events such as training camps and ballgame tournaments are held to strengthen the
connections between the various activities.

3. PR for the Cultural Federation’s Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Cultural Federation holds events such as training.
camps and ball game competitions for clubs belonging to the Cultural Department. It is a valuable opportunity to interact with club members who are engaged in a variety of activities.
Thank you for reading this far. What do you think? Did you get a sense of what the “Cultural
Union Executive Committee” does? When I was participating in club activities in casual
manners, I learned for the first time that there are people who support these activities. If you are interested, please join the club activities.

This is a group photo from a ball game held in 2021.

New Year’s around the World

Writer: Honoka A.
Editor: Karen W.
Translator: Theo F.

It’s December and the fall semester will soon be over; there are only a few days left in 2022. In this article, we will introduce the differences between how New Year is celebrated in Japan and abroad. A previous ToT article, ‘New Year Festivities’, can be read at the link below.

・Celebrating New Year’s in Japan

In Japan, the period from 1 to 3 January is called ‘Sanganichi’, when many shops are closed and people spend time with their families and relatives, eating delicious food. Many Japanese people go to shrines and temples at the start of the year to pray to the gods for good health and good fortune for the year ahead.

Also, as in the English ‘Happy New Year’, when the new year arrives, we say “Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu” is a greeting that is used to welcome the new year. This greeting is meant to congratulate people on welcoming God and a safe new year.

In Japan, there is a kind of greeting card called ‘nengajo’, which is sent to relatives and friends, and New Year’s greetings are sent on postcards.

Osechi and ozoni are special dishes that are eaten only during the New Year. As the taste and ingredients of ozoni differ from region to region and from household to household, if you have the chance, please be sure to compare them.




・New Year’s in other countries

As cultures differ, the way in which we celebrate the new year also differs.

In the USA, there is a countdown in Times Square in New York, while in the UK, the countdown fireworks at Big Ben are famous. However, it seems that these countries only celebrate the first day of the year; people who have to work will resume working from the 2nd.

On the other hand, many countries have unique ways of celebrating. In Ecuador, there is a custom of burning one’s portrait photos on New Year’s Eve. This is meant to dispose of the past, and people collect and burn photos that symbolize the year to go. Therefore, on New Year’s Eve in Ecuador, the whole country is filled with the colour of flames.

In Vietnam, the New Year is also celebrated during the Lunar New Year (called “Tet” in Vietnamese). For this occasion, Vietnamese people decorate their houses with flowers. The flowers decorated seem to vary according to region, with pink peach flowers for those living in the north and yellow plum flowers in the south.

A staple traditional Vietnamese New Year’s dish is steamed rice with mung beans and seasoned pork on top of glutinous rice, rolled up like a sushi roll and wrapped in banana leaves, called ‘banh chung’. This is usually homemade in every household.

Furthermore, in Denmark, people throw plates at the door of their neighbours on New Year’s Day. It is believed that the families with dishes thrown at them will be blessed with happiness, and the more plates, cups and other crockery thrown at it, the luckier the family will become. It is said that a family with many broken dishes at the door of their house at New Year’s is a sign that they have that many loyal friends.

Overall, we can see how different cultures celebrate the New Year differently. Before we dive into 2023, why not meet some new people at the English Plaza or Japanese Plaza to learn about their cultures?


・New Year Greetings

In English, “Happy New Year” is said to have three different meanings. The first one roughly means “happy to see you this year”, the second one means “have a great year” and the third one means “hope you have a fun year”.

However, as mentioned at the beginning, in Japan, “Happy New Year!” has the meaning of “congratulations on welcoming God and a safe new year”. As much of Japanese culture is steeped in Buddhism, respect for the gods is embedded in the meaning of the phrase ‘Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu’. In English, “Happy New Year” has no religious meaning, so it differs from the Japanese greeting. This difference between Japanese and American New Year’s greetings suggests that the meaning may differ from culture to culture and country to country.


・”Happy New Year” in other languages

Chinese: 新年好 (Shin Nian Hao)

Korean: 새해 복 많이 받으세요

French: Bonne annee

Other countries will have different New Year’s greetings. Why not ask your friends and teachers how they say it in their countries and try to acquire a new language?


In this article, we introduced the different ways of spending New Year’s Day. How do you plan to spend New Year’s Day? I plan to spend it with my family and eat delicious food. And how about setting goals for the new year? Please let us know how you spend your New Year’s and your goals for 2023 in the comments below!


著者:Honoka A.
編集者:Karen W.
Translator: Theo F.




 また、英語の「Happy New Year」のように、新しい年になったら、「あけましておめでとうございます。」という挨拶をします。この挨拶には「神様を迎えたことへのお祝いと新しい年を無事に迎えることができた」という意味が込められています。



参考文献:「あけまして」ってどういう意味?なぜ新年になるとあけましておめでとうと言うの!? (












 さらに、デンマークでは、お正月にお皿を隣の家のドアに投げつけるそうです! お皿を投げつけられた家は幸せになると信じられていて、たくさんのお皿やカップなどの食器を投げつけられた家庭ほど、ラッキーな家庭なのだそうです。お正月に家の玄関にたくさんの割れた食器がある家庭は、それだけ多くの忠実な友人をもっているという証だそうです。


 このように、それぞれの国で新年のお祝いの仕方は異なり、国の文化を取り入れたお正月ならではの食べ物や行事があります。2023年を迎える前に、English LoungeやPEP、CPなどを通じて色々な人に出会い、それぞれの新年の過ごし方を聞いてみてはいかがでしょうか。

参考文献:お国別ユニークな年末年始の過ごし方&風習【前編】 (

お国別ユニークな年末年始の過ごし方&風習【後編】 (


 実は英語の「Happy New Year」という言葉には3つの意味があるそうです。




 しかし、最初に述べたように、日本では「あけましておめでとうございます。」の意味は「神様を迎えたことへのお祝いと新しい年を無事に迎えることができた」という意味が込められています。日本の文化の多くは仏教が浸透しているため、神様への敬意が「あけましておめでとうございます」という、言葉の意味に込められています。英語では、「Happy New Year」には宗教的な意味は込められていないため、日本の挨拶とはちがいますね。このように、日本とアメリカの新年の挨拶の違いから、文化や国によって意味が異なるのかもしれませんね。

参考文献:Happy New Yearには二つの意味が – 英単語の正しい使い分けを勉強してすっきり英会話! ( 



中国語では「新年好(シン ニエン ハオ )」

韓国語では「새해 복 많이 받으세요.(セへ ボク マニ パドゥ セヨ)」

フランス語では、「Bonne annee(ボンネー)」

など、多くの国には「あけましておめでとうございます。」と同じ意味の言葉があります。 他の国にも様々な新年のあいさつの言葉があるでしょう。友達や先生の国ではどのように言うのか聞いて、新たな言語取得を目指してみてはいかがでしょうか。

参考文献:世界の言葉で「あけましておめでとう」!英語は知ってるけど他の言語では? – ENGLISH JOURNAL ONLINE (

英語以外の外国語で「あけましておめでとう」を何というか調べてみました。 – こもりみち*たまゆら (


Winter Illuminations in Japan

Writer: Saki N.
Editor: Karen W.
Translator: Theo F.

As the weather gradually gets colder, we head into December. Christmas gets closer and streets become decorated with beautiful lights. Have you ever seen them?

Today, I would like to write about winter illuminations that you can visit without having to transfer trains from the university, are recommended by TIU students, and are displayed in our university!

1. Winter Illuminations you can visit without having to transfer

① Shibuya, The Blue Cave

Many people may know this ‘Blue Cave’ as it is a very popular illumination spot. It is being held for the first time in three years, partly due to COVID-19. This year’s ‘Blue Cave’ also features a giant Christmas card set up with music box sounds at the Yoyogi Park Zelkova tree-lined area. Lighting times are subject to change, but please visit before Christmas ends to enjoy the sacred blue atmosphere.

Date and Time: 12/8 to 12/25, from 17:00 to 22:00

Place: Along the Shibuya Park Street towards the Yoyogi Park Zelkova Trees

From school, you can arrive at Shibuya in 54 minutes.


② Sunshine Aquarium, Marine Garden Illumination

This illumination differs from the ‘Blue Cave’ in that it features different vibrant colours. The lights reflecting on the natural greenery and water, combined with the night view of Ikebukuro, creates a very magical space. This illumination takes place all year round, but during autumn and winter, special night-time opening hours take place from 18:15 to 21:00, allowing visitors to enjoy a wonderful illumination that matches the night-time hours.

To get into Marine Garden, you have to first pay for the aquarium ticket, which costs 2400 yen for adults and 1200 yen for kids.

You can reach Ikebukuro in around 37 minutes from the university.


2. Winter Illuminations recommended by TIU students

Although these locations might require some transferring from Kasumigaseki, it is not that complicated.

① Ebisu Garden Place

The beautiful champagne-gold illumination lights of Ebisu Garden Place, combined with the large, colourful chandelier in the centre square, creates a mystical atmosphere.

Date: 11/12 to 1/9

The huge chandelier lights up every 30 minutes from 5pm to 11pm.

From Kasumigaseki you can first go to Ikebukuro, then transfer to Yamanote Line, and get off at Ebisu. This takes around 1 hour and 5 minutes.


② Roppongi Hills: O-Yane Plaza

The Roppongi Hills Christmas Market is held at the O-Yane Plaza in Roppongi Hills. This venue is said to be the world’s largest reproduction of the Christmas Market in Stuttgart, Germany. Along with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations, you will find original German Christmas goods and authentic German food, such as glühwein and sausages. Enjoy the atmosphere of a German Christmas while eating warm and delicious food, which is more Christmassy than Japanese illuminations.

Date and Time: 11/26 to 12/25 from 11:00 to 21:00

Get off at Ikebukuro and transfer to Yamanote Line, where you should get off at Yoyogi station. From here, get on the Toei Oedo Line and get off at Roppongi station. This takes about 1 hour and 13 minutes. 


3. Winter Illuminations at TIU

Every Christmas season, TIU’s First Campus holds an illumination display in front of the gate, next to Building 2 and on the path leading to Buildings 3 and 6. It gets dark earlier in the winter, but the twinkling lights make the inside and outside of the campus warm and festive. Even if you don’t usually stay at school until late, why not spend a little longer than usual at school and enjoy the illuminated campus on your way home?


In this article, we have introduced you to winter illumination locations both in Tokyo and here at TIU. Winter in Japan is very cold, but please enjoy the beautiful illuminations with your loved ones while drinking a hot drink and creating wonderful winter memories.

Please take a look at “Using the Train in Japan” on our website if you are interested!

References for transit:


著者:Saki N.
編集者:Karen W.














































を参考にしました。また、ToTの記事に「これで完璧 日本の電車の使い方」が掲載されています。下記のリンクから読めるので、参考にしてみてください。

Living Alone – Moving

Writer: Karen W.
Editor: Kurooto B.
Transrater: Juri A.

Hello everyone. Many people will be moving to the Ikebukuro campus starting next fall semester. Many international students will start living alone instead of in a dormitory in Ikebukuro, where rent and prices are higher than on the first and second campuses! Besides the help from PA, this information from J-track students and E-track students who have been living in Japan, will be useful for living on your own. I am going to share experiences from students that I have heard from on SLI’s official instagram account. 

First off, I will introduce the process of finding a place in Japan.

  1. Decide what you require for the room.

The first thing you have to decide when you start finding a place is to know what kind of  room you want to live in, where to live and what is around the area. You need to determine these conditions, otherwise you don’t know what kind of room you should look for. 

②Go to the real estate agent

Once you have decided on what kind of apartment you want to live in, you can search for the various real estate agents online such as “SUUMO, MiniMini and ApamanShop”. If you are an exchange student who has just arrived in Japan and don’t have a clue about how anything works around here, you should consult with friends or acquaintances who have stayed in Japan for a while and who are a part of  the SLI’s PA team and visit these agencies together.

 ③Go to view a room

After you find the room where you want to view, go to view inside the apartment with an agency. Once you find a good room, for some people, the only problem will be the cost to rent the room.

 ④Sign a contract

In order to rent an apartment, you have to prepare a large amount of money for an initial fee. like 100 thousand yen to 200 thousand yen. Also, you have to fill out all the required forms, and open a bank account to pay the rental fee.

④Prepare to start living in

To start off your new life, you have to bring your household goods from your hometown or the previous place and install an electric appliance. Also, you have to ask your family, friends or relocation company to carry your stuff in. To get electric appliances, use an appliance store near your new home, a second-hand store, or an app such as Zimoti. Moving costs a lot so it is important to find out the easy and inexpensive way to get the things you need.

 Next, we asked TIU students who have moved in before they found a room about the things they did for moving over @tiu_sli, SLI’s official Instagram account. It can be divided into the following three main categories.

(1) How long it takes to find a place to live in.

(2) How do you find a place?

(3) During the moving process

Student A: (1)

(1) It took me about 3 months. During this time, I went to see many different rooms, but I couldn’t find a good place at all, so it took a long time. However, I was able to move in about 10 days after I found a room, so I was able to move in very quickly. However, I could only see the places which are managed by the real estate agency that I consulted with. Also, the service provided by that agency was not good, so I feel a little uncomfortable living there.

(3) I had to do all the moving stuff by myself.  It was very tough for me. Also, It was difficult to find a good place so it took a long time. What is more, the way of sales approached by the agent who was in charge of me was so bad that it made me feel awkward.

Student B

(1) It took me about two months to find a place!

2) I was searching for a place by using the Sumo app and Kawagoe’s Minimini on site, and even signed a contract there.

3) It was hard to find a place that suited my needs. I even had to pay for appliances besides the rent fee so it is important to discuss with your parents.

Student C

(1) When I started living in a shared house, it only took me to decide on a place to live in .

(2) I asked a real estate agent to help me find a place.

(3) When I was looking for a place, I had to decide on if it is close to the station and the direction of the house, so it was difficult to find a good compromise.

Student D

It took me about 3 months to move in.

2) I talked with real estate agencies and looked at land when looking for a place.

(3) It was difficult because I had to decide on a room while looking at feng shui.

Student E

It took me about one month.

I looked on the Internet and asked friends to help me find a room.

(3) It was difficult to find an ideal place because of the rent problem.

Student F

(1) It took me about 10 days to find a place.

2) I made an appointment with a real estate agent and decided to move in on the same day, so I was able to move in quickly.

3) It was difficult to carry furniture in.

 Thank you to everyone who cooperated in the survey. If you are thinking of moving, please keep in mind that it usually takes at least a month from the time you start looking for a place until you actually start living there. Some people manage to find a place and move in within 10 days, but please don’t be in a hurry and make sure to select the place that fits your criteria. This series on “living alone” will continue. Please look forward to the next article.


Writer: Karen W.
Editor: Kurooto B.













①    部屋探しから入居までにかかった期間

②    部屋はどうやって探したか

③    引っ越し作業中に大変だったこと