Have you ever noticed this emoji 🎍? Have you ever used 🎍? 

What does 🎍mean? 

Well, now you can impress all your friends and explain to them what 🎍is. 

The emoji 🎍 is a kadomatsu. Kadomatsu means “gate pine.” It is pronounced ka-do-mā-zoo. Kadomatsu is a traditional New Year Japanese decoration. They are placed in pairs in front of homes and businesses to welcome Toshigami, the god of the New Year. The kadomatsu is considered temporary housing for the spirits. Usually, they placed after Christmas and remain until January 7 (although some sources said the 15th). Traditionally, after they are removed they are burned to appease the spirits and release them. Several of my sources said modern day kadomatsu are made of plastic and reused each year. 

Three large bamboo shoots are placed in the center of the kadomatsu. In keeping with Ikebana traditions, the three bamboo shoots are set at different heights to represent heaven, humanity, and earth. The tallest shoot represents heaven, the middle shoot represents humanity and the shortest shoot represents earth. A pine wreath binds the bamboo. Because pine remains green, it is considered lucky. Further meaning of using bamboo and pine is for longevity and prosperity. The kadomatsu are placed in pairs on either side of the entrance, representing male and female.

Here are the two kadomatsu in front of Dave’s office building. 

After living here for five months, my knowledge of emojis is growing faster than my ability to speak Japanese!