「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


New Year's resolutions

By Kip A. Cates


The old year has gone. A new year has come. There's excitement in the air as we change our calendars, look to the future and prepare for another year.

But what year is it exactly? For most people, it’s the year 2015. But this year has other names as well. According to the Muslim calendar, it’s the year 1436. In the Jewish calendar, it’s the year 5775. And in Japan, it’s the 27th year of the Heisei era. Same year, different names!

For most of us, the new year kicks off on January 1. In countries using the lunar calendar, however, New Year’s is celebrated in February. In Thailand, it’s celebrated in April. And in Ethiopia, the new year actually begins in September!

Different countries celebrate New Year’s in different ways. In Vietnam, people pay off their debts, avoid arguments and eat sticky rice cakes. In the United States, people watch football matches and parades on TV. In Iran, people clean their homes, visit friends and have family picnics in the countryside.

In Japan, people exchange New Year’s cards, eat special foods and visit Shinto shrines to pray for good luck. And in China, people wear new clothes, set off firecrackers and give children red envelopes full of money. They also hide their knives and scissors so they don’t “cut” their good luck for the coming year.

In many countries, January is the time for New Year’s resolutions. These are special commitments that people make to improve themselves. Typical resolutions include getting more exercise, losing weight or starting a new hobby.

If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions already, here are my suggestions:

(1) Learn a new language! Make a commitment to study Spanish, learn Korean or master French.

(2) Travel overseas! This year could be a great chance to take a trip to India, visit Egypt or go sightseeing in Mexico.

(3) Adopt a global issue! Make the world a better place by volunteering for a charity, joining a human rights group or supporting an NGO working to eliminate landmines, poverty or world hunger.

This year includes three important anniversaries. It marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the 50th anniversary of establishing ties between Japan and South Korea and the 20th anniversary of the Kobe earthquake. Let’s use these anniversaries to remember the horrors of war, improve relations with our Asian neighbors and help victims of natural disasters in Japan and overseas.

2015 is an exciting year full of promise, potential and possibilities. It offers us the chance to make a fresh start and work for a brighter future.

So, happy New Year everyone! May this year bring you health, happiness, joy and success. Good luck with your resolutions. And remember ― today is the first day of the rest of your life!



The Japan Times ST: January 2, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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