Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's all about "apple polishing", miracle sponges and cows.. polishing...or as we say here, goma suri ("grinding the sesame seeds")...whatever you call it, it works here in this least with Mom.

Do you remember this from a few weeks ago?
Take that one 10-year-old who reeeeeaaaaalllllly wants his Nintendo DS back...(it was "lost" yesterday...remember?).

Momma got a clean cabinet...and Issei got a day or two closer to being reunited with this exiled DS. We're both happy. 'Nuf said.

And the Kuroiwa Family cleaned all day long. Debbie swears there are parts of her kitchen that positively shine and sparkle!!!

You gotta wear shades when you come in the house!

Okay...some serious talk you know of these little creatures?
Here they are called "Miracle Sponges"....I know that my mom sent some to me a few months ago.... maybe they were from Mr. Clean...we just bought a big one that can be cut into about 4 nice sized sponges...we paid about 150 yen (about $1.35...maybe).

Whatever they go by.....GO AND GET SOME!!! Holy Moly Batman!! I wish I had time to take a picture of my sink because it is just purdy!! I can actually see myself in the chrome!! And my walls?? Oh!! Amazing!!! So clean! The wall above the stove? Beautiful. The "artwork" on the bed and dresser? Gone! (Didn't really work on the wall "artwork" as it is paper and with a pattern...must try something else! Damn.)
The floor in the kitchen? Looks new!

These little sponges are wonderful. They made the day so much easier!!

And believe was a loooong day!

But it was worth it....the house and garden and car and motorbike...all are clean and we are ready to welcome in the New Year.

We worked so hard that before dinner, we treated ourselves to an onsen ("hot spring" bath) and that was heaven. Then it was back home to a big pot of homemade chili, a couple Coronas, and then some goofy Japanese TV (okay, so we get goofy TV most nights, but since it is the New Year, it's "special goofy TV"!!)

From the Kuroiwa Family to you....

May the "year of the cow" be a good one....may you be safe...may you be happy...and may you always know that you are thought of with a smile and with love.

Happy New Year everyone!!

**This is a part of our New Year is called a kagami mochi.....the cow was added for effect!!
This particular decoration is one that most people will have in their houses. I went to Wikipedia for an explanation and here is what they said (those people can explain it so much quicker than I can!!):
Another custom is creating rice cakes (餅, mochi?). Boiled sticky rice (餅米, mochigome?) is put into a wooden shallow bucket-like container and patted with water by one person while another person hits it with a large wooden hammer. By mashing the rice, it gets sticky and forms a sticky white dumpling. This is made before New Year's Day and eaten during the beginning of January.
Mochi is also made into a New Year's decoration called kagami mochi (鏡餅, kagami mochi?), formed from two round cakes of mochi with a bitter orange (橙, daidai?) placed on top. The name daidai is supposed to be auspicious since it means "several generations."

(Actually...the "pounding of the mochi" is another tradition and we will do it at Koji's daycare in January....and yes, of course, I'll take pictures!!!)

The picture of the ship, in front, is supposed to be good luck...we also have little piles of salt by the front door for good luck. The K-man is not going to let a chance pass by to "welcome good luck" into our house!! I may have to go and buy a lottery ticket soon...just to see!!
Have a good New Year everyone....and don't forget to eat some black eyed peas on the 1st!! My grandfather used to say that if you ate a couple of spoonfuls of them on January 1st, then that would be the worst thing you would have to do all year!!! :-D
Big kisses to you all at midnight!!


Mike Golch said...

Great post! Here's to a great New Year!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Mmm. A clean house.

About once a year I go through the plastic containers and recycle everything without a lid. I always use Ziploc brand so I can buy new if I need to. Only having one brand of plastic containers makes life soooo much easier. For about $12 it's a life changer I can afford!

Happy New Year!

ms-teacher said...

I love learning about Japanese traditions through you.

My plan for today is to finish cleaning our bedroom as it became quite cluttered since school has started.

I hope that you have a great New Years and an awesome New Year!!

smalltownmom said...

Good job, Issei!

Happy New Year to you all!

hulagirlatheart said...

Ha! I've gotten many a toilet scrubbed and load of laundry washed by a child trying to get back into good standing.'s my favorite punishment. Happy New Year!

Janet said...

mmm, I love me some mochi! Happy New Year, Deb!!!

The Girl Next Door said...

Happy new Year! And yes I love those miracle sponges.

Ms. Lea 李女士 said...

From your Culture to mine~ 'Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit!'
A prosperous New Year!
in Irish (My True Heritage)!!

Nancy said...

So glad I found the link to your blog that I had lost.Aren't those Magic Erasers wonderful! I so enjoy reading your blog and reading all about your daily life in Japan.
Happy New Year!

Helena said...

Happy New Year to you and your family!