Monday, January 2, 2012

New Start Like a Japanese

In Japan, the New Year's day is a big deal. It is important to us to start a new year right. So, you and things around you can keep going right. We wish prosperity of the family at the beginning of a year. That takes us to shrines to get blessings from gods for the year. The first three days of a year, we eat certain significant dishes. It's a feast to celebrate a new year, a new start.

As my respect to my root as a Japanese, I put together simple appetizer plate with traditional Japanese New Year's day dishes. Thanks to my parents in Japan. They sent us some food for the New Year's Day. After the Christmas feast, it is hard to keep eating more food. There are four weeks even between Thanksgiving and Christmas. One week is too short to recover the stomach. I had to simplify the new year. I know, that's a shame.

Left is black beans. It's sweet. It has a wish to work hard. The center is dried anchovies seasoned sweet and salty. Its sprinkled sesames add a nice roasty and nutty flavor. It has a wish for good harvest. You think it's fish, what does it have to do with farming? Each dish has some cultural background story though I don't bring them up here. Right is herring fish roe which has a wish for a big family. Well, how are they connected? Japan started as a farming country. A big family means more workforce. If they all work hard everyday, the family could get more harvest. That would bring them prosperity. Make sense? I made it extremely simplified, but the point is to wish the family's health and their happy life.

My husband and I had the appetizers sipping sake. I asked him if he wants to go to Japan again. He said, "Yes, why are you asking this?" He said he enjoyed the stay before, but I just wanted to make sure that was what he really thought or not. So, now we can start planning another trip!

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