New Year’s in Japan

We had off for a week at New Year’s, the most important holiday in Japan. We were all super exciting on New Year’s Eve. (Not really…) Most of the other teachers at our school had gone to visit family or gone on trips, so we were on our own.

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In Japan, it is considered lucky to eat “toshikoshi soba”, or “year-crossing noodles” on New Year’s Eve. So, I made some for us, along with a salad. Yum!

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My family sent us two boxes of Swiss Colony petite fours, which made our day! We actually just finished the last ones yesterday.

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Teddy is cracking open our champagne for our midnight toast.

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My big excitement of the night was watching the Google Doodle countdown. 😀

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I literally set the countdown on my kitchen timer.

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At midnight, we headed on down to our local shrine for hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the year. Apparently, everyone else in Kamiotai had the same idea. We waited in line for almost 40 minutes. We got the watch the bonfire burning up the old o-mamori (good luck charms).

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Volunteers serving up the New Year’s sake.

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We were given a cup of really surprisingly salty sake, a mikan (kind of like a clementine), and some fish jerky. We donated the fish jerky to the patrol cat who lives at the house on the corner.

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On New Year’s Day, I made Nagoya-inspired waffles. Red bean and butter toast is a specialty here, so I put it on a waffle. It was super delicious.

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This was our beautiful dinner. I made inari-zushi, purple kurikinton (I guess it was kurimurasakiton???), goma-ae, and oshiruko. It was yummy!

In the following week, everything was closed. For real. Luckily I had bought Rune Factory 4 for my 3DS, so I played a ton of that. We also did some bike riding each day. Teddy eventually got stir crazy, so we headed out to Noritake Garden.

Noritake is a famous brand of Japanese pottery made in the western style.

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Here are the original kilns. Clearly, they are no longer used.

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This is the kiln wall. The bricks are from old kilns, and the plates have the names of donors written on them.

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There was some strange metal animal sculptures in the garden, too.

Unfortunately, you weren’t allowed to take pictures in the museum, but it was pretty cool. You got to watch the artisans working on various stages of the pottery making process.

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We got desserts at the museum, too. Teddy got an apple pie, and I got a chocolate lava cake. Mine was super delicious, but Teddy said his wasn’t up to par.

Later this month, we also visited Meijo Koen (Nagoya Castle Park).

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There was a very nice ikebana (flower arranging) display in the greenhouse of the park.

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Yellow ikebana.

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Ikebana in pretty silver containers.

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There were some pretty winter cherry blossoms, too!

After seeing the park, we ate ice cream at the cafe. While there, the woman running it showed me some really cute sewn cakes, and told me how the one girl who worked for the cafe sewed them all by hand!!!

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They were so cute!!

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More of the cakes.

I hope you enjoyed my January post! The next will be all about food!!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marie Elder
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 00:19:45

    Hope your New Year is good…..You take lovely Pictures!

    Reply

  2. Shirley Donehoo
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 01:16:01

    Those sewn cakes are pretty cool! Love all food pics (of course)! Looks like you had a great New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

    Reply

  3. Barbara Lange
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 06:09:12

    I miss our Friday night, Country dinners! Great pictures!

    Reply

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