Japan New Year 2014

Continuing from my first Japan New Year, this is my second year celebrating Japan New Year.

Japan New Year 2014
New Year Door decorations, of course you can find some cute cartoon door decorations instead of the usual traditional ones.

Japan New Year 2014
Japan has already welcomed the Year of the Horse and of course much of the decorations are pretty “horsey”

Japan New Year 2014
Shops are also decorated with intricate decorations in the hope of a better new Year.

Japan New Year 2014
This year, since we are staying in Tokyo for the New Year, I volunteered to make Japanese Traditional New Year food. Most of the needed materials are actually labelled at their different racks so it is not so difficult for the newbie like me. Of course, I had done my home work prior so I knew what to buy. Most of the New Year food are like 2 times more expensive but what choice do we have for the sake of the new Year. Like in this case, this special breed of carrots usually used and found during New Year. It is almost red compared to the usual orange carrots. The name of it is “金時人参”, so I guess the name of it is quite auspicious and of course it is like 3 times the price of the usual carrots.

Japan New Year 2014

Kuri Kinton (栗金飩) which is Sweetened and mashed Japanese sweet potatoes with sweet chestnuts. The characters for kinton literally mean “group of gold”, so with the golden color of this sweet, it represents a wish for wealth and financial success in the new year.

Norecipe

Japan New Year 2014

Kombumaki are nothing more than the umami-rich kombu rolled tightly and bound shut with a ribbon of gourd strip (kampyo). Often kombumaki are stuffed with salmon. This is also cooked slowly in dashi, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce.

Bento.com

Japan New Year 2014
It took me 2 full days to make everything from scratch, I was tired beat after the end of it. Now I totally understand what did my mother mean when she says that she doesn’t have any appetite to eat during our CNY reunion dinners. You are just too tired to eat! Most of the stuff I made can actually be bought over the counter but I guess it makes it more special to make it since I guess it wouldn’t hurt to impress my Japanese family that this foreigner is trying her best with Japanese culture isn’t it. You can read more about the rest of the food at Wikipedia or here.

Japan New Year 2014
Considering I only did the 2 tier Osechi food this year, imagine if I had challenged and did the usual 3 tier 😛

Japan New Year 2014
Our New Year eve dinner, consisting of Osechi food

Japan New Year 2014
and the all important Year of the year end Soba to signify the end of the year.

Japan New Year 2014
The end product of my 2 tier Osechi food for Japan New Year 2014. Even though, we can just place an order but I guess it was extra meaningful to make it by hand. It was an interesting experience and made me appreciate all mothers who had slogged through the festivities these years.

Japan New Year 2014
Also my first attempt with the Japanese stir fried (part of the New Year food too).

Japan New Year 2014
We woke up to home made bread and breakfast the next morning and receiving our “red packets” from Sushi papa. Japan New Year is relatively quiet compared to our Chinese New Year since relatives may be spread our all over the country so not everyone would be able to visit each other.

Japan New Year 2014
Since I still had left overs from the Osechi making, I invited my classmate who so happen just lives opposite the street over for dinner. Usually, Japanese eat Mochi soup for New Year but I made it Chinese style with our red/white rice balls with glutinous rice I brought over from singapore.

Japan New Year 2014
On the 7th day of the New Year, which is January 7, Japanese usually eat this porridge called Seven Herbs porridge. The 7 herbs consists of Japanese parsley (芹), shepherd’s-purse (なずな), Cudweed (母子草), chickweed (はこべら), Nipplewort (小鬼田平子), Turnip and Radish. This is supposed to help ease our overworked stomach and gastric from all the alcohol drinking and rich food that you may have consumed during the New Year festivities. Anyway, you can easily find packs of this in the supermarket around January 5-6 so that is why I managed to cook this. Else there is no way for me to differentiate those required herbs 😛

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