Happy New Year everyone....it's the "year of the mouse" here...not sure what that means but if you are turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60......this year, then THIS is YOUR YEAR!!!
(FYI...here in the Kuroiwa House we are tigers, horse and monkey!!)
So...how did you spend your New Year's Eve? I always get a bit nostalgic this time of year...thinking of the parties and fun that goes on in America on the 31st....aaahhhh..."memories"!! The celebrations are a bit quieter here....though some younger people do go out and drink, the evening is usually spent with family and sometimes friends, at home. On New Year's Eve, it is tradition to eat "toshikoshi" soba noodles for good luck and good health. If you do a search on the internet for "osechi ryori", you'll find that most Japanese foods traditionally eaten this time of year have some particular meaning, usually having to do with good health, long life, and so on.
When the K-man was younger, the town would basically close down for the New Year Holiday (Jan. 1-3)....no stores were open...no supermarkets...nothing. The food prepared for the holiday was made so it could be kept out and eaten at any time. The food was stored in special tiered lacquered boxes (very beautiful!!)....this was a time for rest for EVERYONE, even the wives got a break!!
But now....we have 7-11s and other convenience stores, department stores and supermarkets and shopping centers that are open during this time. Retailers saw an opening for doing great business....and they do!!!
It is also tradition to go to a temple and pray for the new year. At the temple, we usually buy the new year's "omamori" or good luck charms. Issei will get one for "study" and we always get a special one to protect us while driving in the car!! The K-man and I usually each get one for a "general overall" good luck kind of thing!!!
Tonight, we will go to Grandma's house for dinner. She decided a few years ago that cooking all the traditional foods was a bit too "mendokusai" (workably translated to "too much of a pain in the butt"!!!), so we will be having something else. Not sure what it will be, but I will be taking dessert.....even as I type an apple pie is baking in the oven and starting to smell mighty good!!
So...on that delicious note....I will close for the day....I wish you all the best of the new year and all year long.
And since I couldn't be there with you at midnight...consider yourselves hugged and kissed!!
God bless you all.