People in Japan celebrates New Year with fun, shopping and sports

| Updated: Jan 20, 2017 20:17 IST

Tokyo [Japan], Jan.20 (ANI): Hokkaido Island in northern Japan is covered by snow. But, football club Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo brings hot news to the island after it been upgraded to J1. Consadole, which is famous among fans, stood at number 4 among the total 40 teams in Japan's J league. Ishiya Co., Ltd., the official sponsor of the team invited Chanathip Songkrasin, Thai soccer player who has been J League at SHIROI KOIBITO Park. Nicknamed "the Messi of Thailand," Chanathip consecutively win titles in the AAF Suzuki cup and become No. 1 player in Southeast Asia. Chanathip Songkrasen, a soccer player, said, "I am pleased to be able to join a Japanese club. I like playing in the style that I have and contribute to the team." Yoshikazu Nonomura, President and CEO, Hokkaido Consadore Sapporo, "With his technical sophistication, he can be categorized in the top level even from Japanese standard. We look forward to seeing something exciting happening for Consadole, for Chanathip, and for the soccer in all of Asia. I believe this will play an important role in how Thai and Japan are connected. We look forward to seeing his activities even after leaving pitch." During New Year, many shops in Japan conduct Hatsu-uri, or first sale of the New Year. Decorated with festive ornaments, shopping malls open during the New Year for customers to buy 'Fukubukuro (Happy Bags or Lucky Bags)'. They are filled with items from particular brands or stores which are priced far less than their item by value and packed in brightly colored, easy-to-identify cheerful bags. A Japanese Music festival of Komagata attracted the crowd in some malls. Seiichi Mukade of the Komagata-Bayashi Preservation Association said, "Every year, we go from store by store to show our performance. Even if they are children, we want to have more and more people perform. The drum gives visitors a nice feeling. Originally, festival music was reserved for special occasions. Whether it's on Japanese New Year or other festivals, it needs to be enjoyed by either listening or performing it." A visitor said, "Today is my first time at the New Year coming to this mall. I saw the lion dance which made me feel the New Year atmosphere. It's great to get a chance to let my son hit the drum." Masanori Nogi, General Manager, Aeon Mall, Urawamisono, said, "During New Year, items that bring good fortune are cherished. Therefore, people love to go shopping or participate in events during the New Year holiday to get good luck. In this mall, there are many individual stores. 180 stores prepared about 25,000 Fukubokuro. There were 5000 people lining up when the stores opened. It was very popular. Luckily, either the number of guests or the sales has exceeded the estimate. It looks like this year will be a good year. A Pakistani visitor said, "It's so much fun at this time. The children are happy. It's cheap to shop at this period of the time. Everything is 50 percent discount because of the New Year." Traditional decoration, shopping, purchasing new things with good fortune, and participating in events full of energy is filled with hopes to look forward to a new start, a unique way to begin a year that only belongs to Japan. (ANI)