Happy New Year Japanese-Style!

Nick's Blog 9 January 2013 | Comments Off

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!

Nick pounds mochi in preparation for the new year!  It was a tough 2012, so the mochi didn't stand a chance!

Nick pounds mochi in preparation for the new year! It was a tough 2012, so the mochi didn’t stand a chance!

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!

As Japanese custom dictates, in order for the year to start well, firecrackers must be set off to ward of evil spirits.

As Japanese custom dictates, in order for the year to start well, firecrackers must be set off to ward of evil spirits.

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!

As is tradition in Japan, soba noodles are eaten to make sure you have a long life!

As is tradition in Japan, soba noodles are eaten to make sure you have a long life!

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…

As Nick flew into Hilo, Mauna Kea & Mauna Loa stuck their heads over the clouds.

As Nick flew into Hilo, Mauna Kea & Mauna Loa stuck their heads over the clouds.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! SEE YOU IN 2013!
ALOHA!
Nick

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