Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014: My Japanese New Year

Once again this year, I had the most wonderful experience spending a traditional New Year with a family I truly cherish. I feel extremely lucky, and excited for this new year. I hope it's a bit less dramatic  than 2013, but just as eventful would not necessarily be a bad thing. I'm hoping for no city hall, immigration, passport, visa and apartment contract dramas, but for a more stable, comfortable year. I also want to make sure I go home to Canada as soon as possible, for a long overdue visit.

I like new years as they are a fresh start. I don't tend to make many resolutions, but rather small, achievable goals and things to look forward to throughout the year. I rang 2014 in a rather fun way; instead of comfortably staying in, we went out on the town. The countdown is not such a big deal in Japan, but what follows is the best. We headed out to one of my favourite temples in Tokyo, Zojo-ji, where you can view Tokyo Tower in all its glory. And gorgeous it was: all decked out in colourful lights, with a big sparkly 2014 at the top. It got cold so we drank amazake, then had a 4am meal of Chinese Cafe 8 (practically the cheapest/most delicious Chinese food around) before heading to Asakusa.

At 5:30am, still energetic, we boarded a cruise along the Sumida River to see the sunrise. The boat sailed all the way out to Tokyo Bay, and at precisely 6:51am, in the pink sky suddenly appeared a red sun, and it was beautiful (and freezing cold). Seeing the sunrise is one of the most important parts of New Years in Japan, and this was the best way to view it. The cruise was so long, and we came back to shore by 9am- we were completely shattered. After a long drive and a warm bath, I crashed and slept for about five days following- no kidding.

In between sleeping and warm baths, I feasted on the traditional osechi food that is eaten on New Years; a combination of gorgeous small dishes, ranging from beans and fish cakes to shrimp, seaweed and mashed sweet potatoes. Every single thing is so delicious and it must take ages to prepare everything. It's all beautifully set out in stacked lacquered bento boxes- I really want to learn how to make osechi! I think if you can cook it, you can master anything in life. I also went to hatsumode, which is the prayer at the temple (and more amazake). You can view more photos of osechi in last year's post.

It was a true holiday, spent wearing a fleece ensemble and not moving much- it was glorious. Now, how do I switch back to waking up at 7am after going to bed at 4am and sleeping until noon??

I am so thankful for this New Year, 2014, and the wonderful people I've spent it with.

A blurry shot of Tokyo Tower and Zojo-ji

Rainbow Bridge

Odaiba 

Almost sunrise

We made it! Happy New Year!

Osechi

Overwhelmed by food

Hi again, deer!

2 comments:

Quyen Nguyen said...

Your food feast looks so delicious! What a great way to celebrate.

Melanie said...

amazing. looks fantastic.