Celebrating New Year’s Day Japanese Style

We decided to celebrate New Year at the Japanese supermarket.  They had Omochi Tsuki (making a Japanese rice cake using the traditional method with wooden mallets, kine, in a traditional mortar, usu) and Japanese Drum (Wadaiko) Performance.  When my husband and I went to Japan one time, his family made Omochi, and it was fun to watch; our kids have never seen it before.  It was a great opportunity not only for my kids to learn Japanese culture, but also for all of us to spend time together, before my son starts school again next week.

In Japan, New Year’s Eve is a day for deep cleaning and New Year’s Day is a time for family to get together.  When my husband grew up in Japan, he and his family spent New Year’s Eve cleaning and cooking for New Year’s day and he celebrated New Years with his family members.  Every year, his uncles and aunts brought his cousins to see his grandparents who lived with him.  He also visited his maternal grandparents and cousins.  He had a lot of fun with his cousins playing card games and playing outside in the snow.  His family always had a lot of good food to enjoy.

On the other hand, New Year’s Day was never an exciting day for my family.  We didn’t do anything special; it was a bit of a boring day.  My mom usually cleaned; I still remember the year she mopped the kitchen floor with ammonia.  It was the dead of winter, and we couldn’t open the windows to air out the house; I thought my lungs would burn!

We wanted to start a new tradition in our family by spending New Year’s Day together as a family and having fun.  Although it was crazy to get three kids out in a busy place, we all, even our 8 months old baby, enjoyed watching them make Japanese rice cakes and playing the drums.  Of course, we enjoyed good Japanese food, too.

How did you celebrate New Year?

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