Happy New Year!

Please forgive me for the belated Happy New Year to you.  I hope you had a good holiday.

I had a good relaxing New Year’s Day with my sons. The New Year celebration is the biggest holiday in Japan. I have been trying to maintain the custom here as much as I can. The first meal of New Year’s Day is a feast. In Japan, I used to prepare it with my mother and sisters, starting a few days before. Now I usually cook a small portion of that traditional special food on New Year’s Eve and have it for brunch on the New Year’s Day. We had mochi, which can be translated as sweet rice cake. It is pounded sweet rice and very gooey. When it is thinly sliced or made into small pieces and cooked fully, they are called rice crackers.  The main dish of the the first meal of the year is ozouni, a soup with mochi in it. The broth and the ingredients vary depending on the region of Japan. What I grew up with and cook for my family is Kantou (Greater Tokyo area) style. Its base is kelp and bonito (fish) and there is chicken, daikon radish, and carrots in it with baked mochi. I put a snow pea on top in a bowl instead of mitsuba (a kind of Japanese herb) as an additional color to make it good looking.  I am grateful that my sons look forward to this meal with me every year. The past several years we have had friends over as well, but this year it was just the three of us. I enjoyed spending the day catching up on each other’s lives, chatting with our family in Japan via Facetime, watching a movie, and just talking in Japanese all day.

Last year I tried teaching a course on Japanese Culture at a college for a semester. I was so nervous and stressed about it. It was all a learning experience, however, I decided to focus on my own teaching through SAORI Worcester this year. I will have a Japan tour at the end of May and a studio members’ exhibition in July. I was invited to talk and give a workshop for Boston Weaver’s Guild in October, on top of which I have several more events lined throughout the year. Does this sound busy enough already? I am so happy to have such things I am able to be excited about.

I will continue gardening and playing the piano. I will continue getting involved in community movements. Developing my English skills is another priority in this year.

I wish you all a fulfilling year. Life is a continuous journey of learning and letting go. I would like to be more attentive and to cherish things I can not see, but which remain in the heart.

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