Yes….Yes, I know…I know, it’s totally the end of the month but let’s just pretend for a sec that it’s the beginning of the year…..And I decided to fulfill one of my many new years resolutions….Start a blog–CHECK!!!
For the longest time I wanted to create a blog. I had so00 many good ideas (or so I thought). My fav was about the eccentric psycho-fanatics at Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. But…that would require me to frequent those places–a definite no-go. And then many of my friends requested me to do the whole “Real Housewives of Hachiman” (I live in Yoyogi-Hachiman, Shibuya) but I wasn’t sold on that one either, didn’t really want to come off as some cray cray (you know what I mean). so i decided to go the easy route, and write about something I know well. So what could be better then a blog dedicated to ME, my life, and all my loves!! So my blog was born (applause please)!!!!
Okay, back to my post. It’s new years eve (just roll with it) and I’m sure everyone has big plans (I mean already partied it up). So I wanted to share some traditions from my roots. As I was back home in Vegas for Christmas, I flew back to Japan to celebrate new years with Boo-chan and friends!!
New Year’s Eve (大晦日 omisoka) in Japan is the total opposite of Vegas. It’s quiet and people go back to their hometowns to celebrate with their families in front of the tv. Yup, that’s right they spend the night watching tv–super fun!! It’s also tradition to eat end of the year soba (年越しそば toshi-koshi soba). There is no set recipe and each household has their own way of making toshi-koshi soba, from different broths to toppings, such as tempura, kamaboko (fish cakes), scallions, tofu, spinach, etc. We eat toshi-koshi soba for longevity and to have a prosperous new year. Hopefully it really works! when I celebrate in Japan my friends usually congregate at my place for toshi-koshi soba, we countdown to the new year, and have champagne toasts. Which is then followed by dancing the night away (gotta celebrate it both ways). And this year was no different. RiRi and I decided this year wed make the soba (Boo-chan made it last year).
Here’s the finished product-topped with veggie and shrimp tempura, kamaboko, chicken, and scallions. And yesh, it was delish s0 don’t be jealous. tee hee hee. We also had champagne toasts, or two…..or three…
Unfortunately this was the first new years we didn’t make it out…..After much debate we were all too tired, sounds like a lame excuse right—omg are we getting OLD???….Well, actually I think it was because I was sick, Mr T was jetlagged as he just flew in from Amurica, RiRi didn’t wanna go out in the first place, and Boo-chan was too drunk to leave the house….But nevertheless we had fun!!!
On New Year’s Day, we followed tradition and RiRi and I made mochi soup (お雑煮 ozoni). As most families don’t cook rice during the New Years, they eat mochi instead. This was the second time I had ozoni in a weeks span. When I was back in Vegas my dad made his family’s traditional ozoni. Ozoni is like toshi-koshi soba, there is no set recipe, it depends on the household and region. So although it was before new years, my dad wanted my family to celebrate it all together.
My sis and her hubs are vegetarians so my dad made the broth from shitake mushrooms. It was VERY tasty. Here is my dad’s version. It has shitake, scallions, and mochi. There’s my dad dishin out the ozoni!!
RiRi and I made our own versions–a combo of her mom’s and my dad’s recipes. But of course we wanted to make ours super cute and colorful. It was also yummy and topped with naruto, kamaboko, mizuna, spinach, hard boiled eggs, and carrots.
So after relaxing for a bit, later that night we went to dinner with RiRi and Mr T, then we were off to pay our first visit to the shrine (初詣 hatsumode). Some people go on New Year’s Eve and others go at the beginning of the year. In the past, I went to Meiji Jingu (明治神宮) but it’s way too crowded–about 3 million people visit there during the new years holiday (not an exaggeration). So we kept it local and went to the shrine in my hood called Yoyogi-Hachiman Shrine (代々木八幡神宮). People go there to pray and make their wishes for the new year–obviously I can’t tell you my wishes or they won’t come true. It’s also customary to buy an omikuji (お神籤) which is like your fortune for the year. Boo-chan got dai-kichi 大吉 which is very lucky, i got 吉 kichi which is lucky, and RiRi and Mr T got 小吉 which is small luck (unlucky). When you get a bad or unlucky fortune you tie it to a wire to get better luck. Although Boo-chan was very lucky he always ties his, so we all did the same.
1. Me n RiRi 2. Mr T and Boo-chan at the Yoyogi-Hachiman Shrine.
1. Yoyogi-Hachiman Shrine Lantern (提灯 chouchin) 2. All the unlucky omikuji tied to the wire.
So that sums up my traditional New Years. How was your New Years–what fun glamorous things did you do? Hope 2013 will be a fabulous year for everyone!!! Happy New Year (あけましておめでとうございます akemashite omedeto gozaimasu)!!
ms fancy pants tokyo & riri and mayu
- Yoyogi-Hachiman Shrine (代々木八幡神宮)
- 5-1-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku Tokyo