Cranking the energy back up to celebrate our Japanese side with the big family hoohah that is New Year.
I love New Year I just find it hard to keep the energy going especially when there is SOOO much food about and my clothes are already feeling the post Christmas pinch.
The Man is working his last day of the year today and then he’ll have 5 whole days off, bringing the annual total of days off to….6!! I exaggerate of course but really days off are thin on the ground, as reports of job losses float in just got to be grateful we have jobs.
So what will we do ? I hear you ask. How does the average Japanese family celebrate their biggest holiday.
Food and alcohol are the first words that spring to mind.
Back in the early days, when Sunshine was just a little thing we would go to the Out-Law’s and for two days there would be dozens and dozens of relatives. Adults give children money called ‘ otoshidama’, so Sunshine made out like a bandit then. These days as people have aged rather, they tend tp stay closer to home, and spend the time with their more nuclear family, so the gatherings are not so big.
We’ll go over to the out-laws on the 31st and hang out and chat and eat. At about 11pm those of us who are still awake will eat ‘toshikoshisoba’, then myself, The Man, his father and any kids who are still awake will walk for 30 minutes in the frigid cold to the local shrine.
I will bet right now that Jim is the only child still standing.
At the shrine, at midnight, a huge bell is rung 108 times. The first 108 people get a chance to give it a dong, so we always hope we are in time to get a number for that.
Between 11.30 and 12.30 thousands of people come. I think the first visit of the year to a shrine or temple is call ‘ hatsumode’ but I am never quite sure if this New Year’s Eve visit qualifies, as we always visit Hozanji Temple, up the mountain near our house, when we get back.
There are a lot of stalls selling food and amulet for luck etc and last year there was a live band playing and I seem to recall the kids being horrified that I had a dance with my Father-in-Law.
Then all warm and fuzzy we trundle home.
Keep watching for the next thrilling installment I am going for my morning walk now.