Tuesday, January 03, 2006


AKE OME is short for shin nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu (新年あけましておめでとうございます。) which means HAPPY NEW YEAR in japanese. this year i got the opportunity to celebrate new year with a japanese family, the family of my classmate Yuusei in Iiyama. I was very excited 'coz i'm very interested in japanese culture and i want to learn and experience it first hand.

Ok now i'm feeling very lazy so i'm gonna do today's post quick and easy. i went to Yuusei's place on ths 31st dec 2005 at around 4p.m. and when i arrived, his mom is already preparing for dinner. being a good modest gentleman of superior quality, i offered my help but instead she told me go to the kotatsu (low table with heater below), eat some mikan (mandarin orange?) and watch the tv. i'm the guest of the house she said. so i watched the new year specials on tv and 30mins later Yuusei said he wanted to show me his new turntable so we went to his room. shit it was awesome ! the useless thing costs about 200000 yen and the only function it has is the ability to mix and arrange music samples. i could buy a high end computer with that !! oh well just when my stomach's singing the happy song of go get some fukcing food, her mom called for dinner. oh yeah, her mom made (pic) nabe ryouri tonight! i've never eaten a nabe dinner before so i was quite sceptical and worried that i would not like the taste. oohh i'm soo wrong! it's fukilicious !! a japanese nabe dish is very simple actually. you put some water in a large pan/pot, put some suppon & shouyou and just toss in some fresh fish, shrimp, shellfish and vegetables, wait until it looks good enough to eat and enjoy ! halal, easy, fast and no skills needed.

ok the nabe dish is not actually a 'new year dish'. i was quite dissapointed to know that Yuusei's family don't do the things that tradisional japs do in conjunction to new year. well i used to learn about japanese new year celebration when i was still studying nihongo in kuala lumpur and his family's way of celebrating is far from what i had in mind. i guess when his father saw the frustration on my face (i'm not really frustrated, i'm just making the face) he decided to actually do something tradisional this year, which is to eat (pic) toshi koshi soba (年越しそば- go to next year buckwheat noodle) just before the clock hit 12 o'clock. so while waiting for new year everyone gathered at the living room to watch the kouhaku uta gassen (紅白歌合戦- red&white song competition: a famous & nostagic tv program that were aired on new year's eve for the past 50years: this tv program has this strong 'feel' to remind japanese that it's new year). the program aired from 8.00 p.m. to 11.45p.m. but both Yuusei's parents and himself fell asleep at 11, leaving only me, his older sister hoshimi and younger sister harumi infront of the tv. when it's 11.50p.m. we tried to woke them up but invain, so only the 3 of us had toshi koshi soba that night. after finished cleaning up, hoshimi said she wants to play famicon so we take turn playing 'till it's 2 a.m. then i took a shower and went to sleep at about 2.30 a.m. i'm not quite sure. happy new year... whatever....

it's new year ! for breakfast we had osechi ryouri (おせち料理 - new year's dish). osechi ryouri is a combination of a lot of food that i have no idea of what they're called. some i do know like kuromame (黒豆 - black bean), daikon no nimono (大根の煮物 - japanese radish stewed) and of course the outstandingly delicious ozoni (おぞに - soup with omochi *i bring along some chicken meat so that Yuusei's mom can prepare this for muslim me*). i forget to take a picture of ozoni so i only managed to took of what's left. i forgot to mention that there's also raw octopus and some kazunoko (数の子 - fish egg). raw octopus... is bad. very, very bad !!!! i would never try another slice of raw octopus, again !!!

i insisted yuusei on showing me the japanese way of celebrating new year so he took me to zenkouji (善光寺 - a famous temple/shrine here in nagano) to do hatsumoude (初詣 - first prayer?) so i was like woo i'm 100% pure muslim i can't buddist-pray! well, yuusei said, i don't believe in this stuff either but we're just doing this for... fun. just think of it like a theme park where you have to do stuff to move on to the next level/area. i said ok. so... there were thousands of people at zenkouji, and i bet only 10% of these people believe in the faith. nowadays it's hard to find a japanese who believes in any faith. islam, buddha, shinto, christian you name it you won't find it here. japanese becomes a christian when it's christmas, a buddist when it's new year and a shinto when it's matsuri (祭り - festival?). it's quite fucked up but as long as no one's hurt.

so back to my main story. we went inside (no pic allowed), it's crowded like a morning train in tokyo you can't even breath. i toss 10yen into this huge 'coin box' that were placed infront of this huge, bright, golden 'thingy' (i wish i could take a pic) and went outside to buy a study omamori (お守り - talisman) and an omikuji (おみくじ - fortune slip; says i don't have luck this year, yeah right). well that's what a typical japanese would do when they go to temples/shrines during new year. now that i've learned that first hand, we decided to go home 'coz it's freezing cold outhere. on the way back we bought a pack of my fav takoyaki (たこ焼き - octopus flitters) that were sold just outside of zinkoji.

there were a lot of stalls around the zenkoji at this time of the year, it feels just like pasar ramadhan during ramadhan in malaysia. we got like one more hour till our train comes so we went to a shoes shop to window shop and how lucky i am, yuusei wants to present me a new shoe !! i just told him to pick up the shoe that he think is the coolest so he picked a high-cut pony snickers for me. at 15000yen (7000yen after discount), i think it was too expensive and i told him to pick something cheaper but he said that it's okay 'coz he received a lot of otoshidama (お年玉 - new year's gift; just like 'duit raya' in malaysia) this year so hooray for me.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin