A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Faces for Father`s Day- and a bit on the history of that special day as it is celebrated in Japan

Portraits of Dads for Fathers Day on display at a local supermarket in Tsukuba, Japan.

More portraits!

More portraits!




By Avi Landau


A wallet, necktie or new set of golf clubs are fine Father’s Day gifts. But nothing  brings a bigger smile to a dad’s face than his portrait executed in crayon by his own toddler. And what better subject is there for all the budding young Hokusais and Sharakus out there than that big face, which all googly-eyed, has been cootchy-cooing at them since their eyes have started to focus?

In past year`s the now defunct Tsukuba Branch of the Seibu Department Store  held displays showing hundreds of such Father’s Day portraits as part of their Chichi-no-Hi (父の日, Father’s Day) campaign. In more recent years similar  exhibits have come to be held at various supermarkets and shopping malls. They are sure to bring a smile to ANYONE who sees them. Though these works lack polish and technique (they are created by 3 year-olds!), they exude color, love and joy of life — and what could be better than that? And though we are grown up now, we STILL can’t escape those images of the big faces which peered down at US when WE were in OUR cribs. This exhibition will bring back a flood of memories and feelings.

Father`s Day portraits on display at a local supermarket in Tsukuba in June

Father’s Day was introduced to Japan after WWll and is held on the 3rd Sunday in June (this year on the 19th). Though at first completely overshadowed by Mother’s Day in terms of gift giving and spending, Dad’s Day has been slowly but surely catching up as family dynamics have been changing (more time spent with papa) and advertising campaigns have started to sink in.

Portraits of dads at a Tsukuba supermarket

Portraits of dads at a Tsukuba supermarket

The 6th floor of Seibu often has special events which are worth checking out. This month they will be having summer gifts (o-chugen) on display, and even if you don’t plan on sending these beautifully packaged and very over-priced boxes of juice, salad oil etc. to YOUR boss, in-laws, professor, or go-between (nakodo), many Japanese people do, and it is interesting to see all the different gifts and the lines of customers doing their duty.


The 6th floor events that I most look forward to are the Eki-Ben Fairs which bring together all the famous train station boxed lunches from around Japan, and the regional food fair which gives you a chance to taste and purchase delicacies for various prefectures, both far and near.

Oh!- and here are two versions of a song I wrote about the joys of fatherhood! They were recorded byThe TenGooz !





A Father`s Day gift


I was looking through an interesting shopping catalogue put out by one of Japan`s major department stores. It features both Mothers Day and Fathers Day gift in a unique side by side manner. The first few pairs of pages show flowers, showing know discernable difference between those for dads and those for moms. The next few page-pair are more interesting, though,There are foods. For moms there are cute sweets and for dads MEAT and FISH! then there is a clothing section: Parasols and DETERGENT for moms and and golf or tennis shirts for dads!

A poster announcing a Father`s Day picture contest

A poster announcing a Father`s Day picture contest

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