#31 A Happy New Year

2021 . 01 . 04

A Happy New Year.
I would like to express our joy for the new year.

How was your new year’s holiday ?

On the new year’s day, I celebrated the new year day with Osechi and walked to a local shrine and a temple for the first visit to a shrine of the New Year. I watched ‘Hakone Ekiden ( a load relay in Hakone) ’ on the second day and I went to a natural spring on the third day with my mother.

These days were so calm..

I feel that people were paying attention to COVID-19 but my days were not a big change according to the virus but a lot of small changes compared to my childhood.

Firstly, New year’s dishes called Osechi !!

Black beans, Small dried sardines, Salted herring roe, Kelp roll, Steamed fish paste, Sweet omelet, Sweet potato and chestnut, Pickles, Vegetables stewed with soy sauce,,,,

I vividly remember my childhood that I ate only my favorite black beans and vegetables stewed with soy sauce, and I couldn’t understand the deliciousness of salted herring roe that my father liked or I couldn’t eat kelp rolls or sweet omelet .

Since I became a vegetarian, I have cooked Vege Osechi without sugar. Even though each dish has a wish with those ingredients, I used only vegetables, for example using burdock instead of sardines for dried sardine for years.
However, this year, my mother tried Roasted beef and Chicken ham but omitted to cook Teriyaki of yellowtail.
Until this year, we used to pack what we made in a rude manner, but because I heard that an odd number of items should be packed for a fortune, I hurriedly added burdock covered with sesame sauce.
People who eat or the number of people who eat has changed, and the favorite dishes differ depending on the year.
Even if we say ‘Osechi’ in one word, there is no ‘same’ every year.

It seems to keep the tradition, but not do it exactly.

I feel that it is essential to enjoy the act of ‘eating osechi’, but the contents are now mixed with Chinese and Western foods. Through our action and mind becoming worldwide, not only our family but also Japanese in general has been changing their dietary situation.

Anyway, when I complained about eating only osechi and rice cakes when I was a kid, my mother said “ It is said that when I work during the new year’s 3 days, I’ll be busy with housework for the whole year. So I do nothing !”
Compared with this, the amount of rice cakes we made was modest and rice was cooked on the third day.

I thought that the atmosphere of the world was no longer “the sleeping New Year” like it used to be.

I think maybe there were no small shops opened before the 3rd except a big department store in Nagoya when I was a child so that it was a genuine new year just to eat and sleep. But nowadays, even though it looks like a serious situation with corona virus, most of the shops were opened from the 2nd while shouting self-restraint and social-distance. Many people should go to work and some enjoy the first sale. Of course the news reported it, this year was so strange. Why would it be such a big incident if we were forced to take what we had taken for granted a long ago ??

Does it mean that human beings can challenge ‘some changes that we have never experienced” with excitement, but may turn into suffering with ‘some changes that go back to the old days’??

As long as time goes by, any change is natural.

I want to go forward with a light heart enjoying our tradition during this era.
In addition, I hope that all of you will always have warm lights and comfortable winds.

In 2021, Let’s enjoy each other and together !!

Author ; Miki Kato