Aloha & happy new year to all of you! To all my Japan friends, あけましておめでとうございます！今年もよろしくおねがいします。
It has been a while since my last post, so I wanted to share how we celebrate the new year in Hawai’i. Being local Japanese, we have our own modified traditional customs that we celebrate each new year!
First, pounding mochi! This is my favorite activity each year because the end results in delicious mochi! This year, I tried my hand at manual-style mochi pounding using the “kine” (pronouced kee-nay) or wooden mallet and “usu” (pronounced oo-soo) or concrete mortar. You know those fancy mortar & pestles you buy from William Sonoma? These are HUGE sized versions and specifically used for mochi. After that, it was on to our usual hand-rolling and eating of the mochi. Mmmm, can’t wait for next year again!
Next is fireworks, another favorite past time! Here in Hawai’i, we love our fireworks very much. Not only are they used to entertain our friends and the pyromaniac in all of us, but they are also used to help clean evil spirits out of your life. The story goes that at the beginning of the year, you must pop fireworks in front of your door to scare any evil spirits away and have a happy home. Every year, I head down to the office and make sure there isn’t any bad spirits there either!
Soba is a delicious buckwheat noodle that is served on New Year’s Day to guarantee long life. The symbolic nature of the long soba noodle means that anyone who eats the long noodle will have long life! At our Uncle’s house, he prepares a traditional soup called “Ozoni” (pronounced oh-zoh-nee) with the soba and it makes a delicious dish!
Finally, as always, I like to end with a more “artistic” photo. I had a mini-vacation up in Hilo before the new year, and was able to catch this photo as I flew in. I hope you all have a great new year. The mayans were wrong, we’re still alive, so make the best of the year and have some fun! Hopefully, that includes a little ManoaDNA and IOLANI…
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! SEE YOU IN 2013!