10things to do in “Shiwasu(December)” , Japan

Japanese modern lifestyle

Hi it’s Ayumi. Time flies it’s already December!! December is the busiest month of the year. How do you spend this month? Today, I will share 10 things to do to have fun and get ready for the new year!

What is “Shiwasu”??

First of all, in Japan, each month may be called differently using the lunar calendar. December is “Shiwasu”. It’s written in しわす, しはす or 師走. “師” means monk, master or teachers etc and “走” means running.

In December, they run because they’re so busy. Then December became called shiwasu.

You might have heard Japanese people saying like “It’s shiwasu and I’m super busy!” or “The town of shiwasu is busy preparing for New Year’s Eve.”

10things to do: How to spend shiwasu?

Modern life is so busy. And now it’s shiwasu! We should plan and get ready not to miss anything by New Year’s Eve.


Let’s check one by one!

Get a ticket

If you visit to your hometown or travel somewhere, plan now and get a ticket.

Keep track of your family’s schedule

In shiwasu, everybody has their plans at work, at school, at mom’s group, at pet community and so on. It is important share and keep track of your family’s schedule!

Start housecleaning

Everybody wishes to welcome the new year in a clean and tidy house. Then start now the housecleaning!

13th December is historically called “すすはらいの日/Susuharai no hi(the soot payment day) in Japan, and it is customary to start cleaning on this day. Soot cleaning is to remove soot and dust and clean it. Today, many families start on a warm November weekend.

Check your living ware and get new towels, under wears and tooth blushes. Kitchen tools, stationary etc as well. Make sure you will start fresh New Year with nice things around you.

Don’t forget to check the last day of garbage!

Go to hair salon

It’s going to be very busy at any hair salons as the end of the year approaches. People want to dress up and welcome the new year. Recommend to reserve now!

Review the year

Look back what you have done this year. It is such a crazy year, 2020. The situation has been changed dramatically but you all have survived health and nice:) Now praise yourself! Woohoo.

Relax and set goals for the next year!

Prepare for Christmas cake

We need some special sweets on very merry Christmas!! It is important to reserve a cake at the bakery or get all the ingredients if you bake yourself!

Decorate for Christmas and New Year

Let’s decorate your home with Christmas and New Year decorations! Christmas trees, wreaths, shimenawa, kadomatsu… There are many selections to celebrate the biggest event of the year! In Japan, the decorations will be changed to New Year right after Christmas!

Prepare Oseibo (お歳暮/おせいぼ)

It is customary to give gifts with gratitude to those who are indebted to you on a daily basis.
Seafood such as blowfish or crab which are ideal for hot pots, meat, ham, and beer that can be enjoyed by a large number of people during the New Year are popular. It should be delivered by 20th December.

Prepare New Years cards

In Japan, we send new year cards to families and friends. It’s usually with a family photo and a short message on it. It’s more than 100 cards sometimes if you have a big list! Nowadays, greetings via email or SNS is more major, however, we still like to enjoy the pretty cards delivered to the mail box on New Year’s day! Make sure to post mail by 25th December.

Get ready for New Year

Purchase all the ingredients for New Year’s dishes(Osechi ryori) to eat on New Year’s Day. Also, prepare a new bill and a pocket bag for the New Year’s present(Otoshidama/money).

So many things to do in shiwasu!! Don’t miss and enjoy this joyful holiday season!!


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