Oosouji: Time To Spring Clean
This post was originally published on April 18, 2009; because today is the Spring Equinox we’re pulling it out of the archives as a reminder that this is a great time of year to tackle your “winter is over – summer’s on its way” cleaning details, or to start preparing for an upcoming PCS if this is the year you’ll be picking up and moving… again..
CONTRIBUTED BY JANNINE MYERS
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“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” I saw this random quote a few days ago (on some calendar I think), and I couldn’t help thinking how true it is. There is something about spring that awakens your senses and puts that extra bounce in your step.
And I don’t know about you, but I seem to enjoy longer periods of cheerfulness and fewer bouts of hormonal-induced outbursts, breakdowns, grown-up tantrums, or whatever you like to call them. I also seem to have more focus and motivation to get things done, no easy feat when you’re a multi-tasker like myself.
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So it makes sense then, that while my mind is in this rejuvenated state I should make the most of it and tackle some of those arduous and bothersome chores that I continue to put off. One such chore that immediately comes to mind is the major spring clean that I always intend to do, but never do!
There are so many things in our house that really need to move on to either the thrift shop or the trash collector, and then once they’ve been moved on there will be empty spaces that will need a good and proper wipe-down and dusting. And then there are the appliances that need a thorough dusting, and those conspicuous black marks on the white walls that need cleaning; the list goes on. It’s no wonder I prolong this event as long as possible, and yet I marvel at the Japanese people who set aside an actual day each year to fulfill precisely this task.
“Oosouji” is the name of this annual ritual; its literal translation is “the big cleaning.” At the end of every year, usually on New Years Eve for many families, Japanese homes are meticulously cleaned in an effort to drive out any impure influences that may have taken up residence during the previous year.
Purification is the key objective here, and while us foreigners here in Japan may choose to ignore or disregard the symbolism behind this age-old Japanese custom, the end result (i.e. a clean and uncluttered house), is something I’m sure we all want and strive for. Granted, not in the middle of our Christmas and New Years celebrations, but don’t you think that spring is the perfect time to adopt this wonderful Japanese tradition and get your home in order? I do!