Japanese New Year

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I know, I know… Half of January has passed and why am I writing about New Year right? (-_-) I’m writing this because I need to refer to this post end of the year to prepare for next year’s new year celebration. *sounds so confusing huh..* 😉

Kagami-mochi (鏡餅)

So I bought one which comes with a mini sheep object from a market in mid-December. However, the original one looks like this.

But it looks so confusing so I took the shortcut and choose the kawaii version instead. 😉 It is to offer the mochi (rice cake) to the gods and then consume it after welcoming the new year.

When to set it up? Answer is: 28th December.

Spring Cleaning

Same as the Chinese’s Lunar New Year tradition, Japanese also practise spring cleaning before welcoming the new year. Throw away unnecessary stuff and clean up the house sparkling clean.

Osechi Ryori (お節料理)

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I……… ordered this from the supermarket. 🙂 Looks awesome for 10,000yen (super value for money) and it comes along with the boxes. ♥

We didn’t consume osechi dishes for 2014 because we were still mourning Y-chan’s grandfather’s death. It’s the Japanese tradition to keep it a low-profile.

For Osechi dishes, the compulsory dishes to include would be Prawns, Datemaki (伊達巻), Kazunoko (数の子) my favorite ♥, Black soybeans, Kamaboko, Konbu, Namasu and Tazukuri. *For the explanation, read wiki here*

I love almost every items except maybe…. the chestnuts. :O

With this experience, I will try to make some of the dishes for example, the simmered vegetables, black soybeans, namasu and omelette this year. 😀

Ozoni (お雑煮)

photo credits: erecipe.woman.excite.co.jp

photo credits: erecipe.woman.excite.co.jp

There’s a lot of variations to the soup base depending of the region you’re brought up in. I asked Y-chan on what he used to have when young, he said “I can’t remember.” (-.-“)

So I made a miso-based Ozoni with chicken thigh (in bite-sized), daikon, carrots and spinach, then add in mochi to simmer till soft before serving. 🙂

Hatsumoude (初詣)

photo credits: matome.naver.jp

Hatsumoude means the first shrine/temple visit of the year, and it should be done by the 3rd day of the new year. 🙂 Long queues are a frequent sight in famous shrines/temples such as Meiji Jingu, Sensoji and Narita-san.

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We have been visiting Hikawa Shrine (武蔵一宮 氷川神社) for the past few years and it’s quite famous in the Kanto region.

We picked omikuji after the visit and both of us got 吉. LOL At least we didn’t get 凶 (bad). Hoping for the good luck to continue throughout the year. 😀

Nanakusa-gayu (七草粥)

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It’s a porridge cooked with 7 types of herbs and is to be eaten on the 7th day of the new year. There’s 2 reasons to eat this porridge.

Nanakusa-gayu is so lightly flavored or close to tasteless. During the new year, one tends to overeat and food tends to be heavily flavored. So eating this porridge would give the stomach a rest.

Another reason would be that the Japanese believes that eating nanakusa-gayu would protect one from illness and disasters throughout the year. 😉

As I am very picky on herbs (I don’t like the bitter taste), I bought this freeze-dried pack that’s so easy to handle. Just cook a pot of porridge with my rice cooker and mix the pack in. Serve it with a sprinkle of sea salt (a souvenir from a friend) to add some flavor.

Guess that’s the end of celebrating the Japanese New Year. 😀

It’s going to be the lunar new year soon and I am missing the bak kwa smell. 😥

Hello Hydrangea!

Over the weekend, Y-chan and I went to Omiya Park for a relatively long osanpo (walk) and also to see my favorite flower – Hydrangea. 😀

In Japan, hydrangea starts to bloom when it enters the rainy season which is usually end May till end June. So I went to check Omiya Park’s official website and they have updated that hydrangea has started to bloom. I didn’t want to miss any chance so we decided to go over the weekend.

Saw this while on our way to the train station near our house. Can you imagine my excitement when I saw it blooming so beautifully? 😀

Took the train to reach Omiya station and from there, we walked through Hikawa Shrine towards Omiya Park #2 to reach the hydrangea garden. I think we’ve walked 2.5 km and that day I wore wedge sandals (my legs almost gave up)! 😦 Everything was worth it because…. I got to see my favorite flowers in many colors!! [Please enjoy the slideshow!!]

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I also managed to take some coordinate snaps for Kate-Katy and it’ll be posted soon. 😀 And! And!!! I’m going to change my Spring header to Summer header as advised by my friend.

Ending this post with a photo of me and Y-chan. 😀

Look at my jawline! ((:

Look at my jawline! ((: