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Ends and Beginnings

I walked into school the other day to see these laid out near the entrance. The mikan (a variety of mandarin orange) and the daruma are often things commonly seen at the end and beginning of a year.


The Japanese mikan is a familiar sight in Japan during the winter as a classic winter activity in Japan is sitting at a Kotatsu (heated table. A MUST have for winter) eating mikan and watching tv dramas. As for the daruma, it is a round Japanese traditional doll modeled after the founder of Zen tradition in Buddhism. It is seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular purchase at the start of a new year. When purchased, the daruma doll’s eyes are both blank white. The owner makes a wish or goal for the year and paints in the left eye of the doll with ink. Once the goal is achieved, the right eye is filled in.


The closing ceremony for winter break has already taken place by the time this article was written, and students have officially gone off for their winter break. As we approach the year end, let’s give ourselves a little break and enjoy the festive season. Have a mikan (under the Kotatsu if you can. Have I mentioned that it is life changing?), give thanks for you have gone through a year safely, despite the ups and downs, and perhaps, purchase a daruma doll so that you can start 2023 with a goal to look forward to.


Have a good winter break!