Friday, 4 January 2013

Welcoming Twenty Thirteen

"Cheers to a new year 
and another chance for us to get it right." 

Oprah



This marks my 900th entry since I started this blog in early 2007. Anyone wish to send an anniversary cake for my blog? Hahaha!


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Happy New Year 2013 everyone!

It has been a while, isn't it? My last entry was more than two months ago, on me taking part in the Chiba Aqua Line Marathon. Probably some of you might have thought the marathon had took its toll on me and I took a indefinite leave from blogging, then you are wrong. I managed to complete the race, which I will blog on it very soon. So, look out for my marathon entry in the next few entries. In this entry, I will write briefly about how I celebrate the New Year's Eve and the New Year's Day this year.

Unlike the people in the West, the Japanese people welcome the New Year in a rather quietly atmosphere. On the eve, they will stay at home and watch some year-ending entertainment programs on TV. For those who don't mind the freezing temperature outside, they will pay a visit to the local shrines at midnight, while hearing to the 108 rings of the bell to "ring away" the evils of the old year.

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My bowl of toshikoshi-soba this year, with miso soup and a variety of sashimi to go along.

The traditional evening meal to have on New Year's Eve, more commonly known as Ōmisoka (大晦日) in Japan is called the toshikoshi-soba (年越しそば), or "year-end soba". This bowl of soba symbolises the end of the old year and crossing over to the New Year. It is said that eating toshikoshi-soba on New Year'e Eve carries with it the promise of leading a long, trim lifestyle, suggested by the shape of the noodles itself.

So, if anyone out there who are planning to cut down their weight, I recommend you eating soba; at least twice a week hahaha!

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My first meal this year - oshiruko (お汁粉), kinako-mochi (きな粉餅), ozoni (お雑煮), date-maki (伊達巻き ). Simple but taste great!

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A closer look at the ozoni, a soup of mochi rice cakes in clear broth (in eastern Japan) or miso broth (in western Japan). 

On the New Year's Day, the Japanese will have osechi (お節), traditional food eaten on the first day of the year. Each food that make up the meal has their own symbolic meaning. For example, datemaki is a type of sweet rolled omelette mixed with fish paste or mashed shrimp, which symbolises a wish for many auspicious days.

Mention New Year's Day in Japan and another common term is hatsumode (初詣), or the first visit to the shrine of the year. This year, I visited the Kawasaki Daishiji Temple (川崎大師寺) in Kawasaki city.

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The temple is situated just about ten-minute walk from Kawasaki Daishi station on the Keikyu Line.

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Although it was quite cold, weather was great and the area was crowded with people wanting to pay their visit to the temple.

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A huge sign board showing the entrance to the temple.

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Daishi Nakamise (大師仲見世), the main street that leads to the temple. There are many shops selling souvenirs and snacks along this street.

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The most famous sweet here. There are plenty of flavours to choose from, such as miso flavour to aloe vera flavour.

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Daruma dolls, which come in various sizes. They are considered a talisman of good luck among the Japanese.

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Amazake (甘酒), literally "sweet sake", a traditional sweet and low or non-alcohol Japanese drink made from fermented rice. One cup is sold for 100 yen.

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After walking for approximately fifteen minutes through the large crowd, we came to a standstill somewhere near the entrance to the temple.

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Dai-sanmon (大山門) or the Main Gate, was built in November 1977 to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Kawasaki Daishi.

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And this is what I saw after crossing the main gate - sea of people ahead of me. As a precaution measure, the number of people who are allowed 
to pray inside the main hall are controlled.

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As people wait for their turn until they reach the main hall, they fan the smoke from the incense as it is believed that the smoke has healing power. 
For example, fan some smoke towards your heart if you just had a heart-break.

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Dai-hondo (大本堂), a splendid cathedral of the Showa period with an architectural style of the Heian period.

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After doing my prayers, I looked down and this is what I saw! Feel like shouting at them "Merdeka!" lol!

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Temporary-stalls were set up to sell souvenirs, amulets, etc at the temple compound.

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Counters for people to get their omikuji. I tried to get my first omikuji of the year and guess what I got?

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Kichi (吉), or "blessing". Not bad, eh? Mine is on the right by the way. 

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Tokyo Station on New Year's Day evening.

My New Year's Day didn't end there. In the evening, I headed to Crystal Mama and Windell Papa's place in Toyocho for a New Year party. It has been months since we did a gathering at their place and indeed, it was great to see everyone again after some time. So, what were in the menu of the night? Well, the food at the party was a mixture of Malaysian, Japanese and Western food.

And here comes the list.

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Baked penne with cheese and topped with shrimp and parsley sprinkle.

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Steamed XXXL-sized crabs.

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Roasted whole chicken.

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Salad with onion dressing.

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And more salad.

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Chicken curry. Perfect dish on a cold winter.

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Prawn noodle or sometimes called Hokkien mee in northern region of Malaysia.

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Crystal Mama, the host with baby Yota.

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With my senior Andrew and Kevin junior.

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One big happy family.

And there goes my New Year's entry. Wishing that 2013 will bring more happiness, good health, more wealth and prosperity to all my readers and everyone out there. And you know what? I feel that the ending of this entry sounds more like a Chinese New Year message lol!

Anyway, my wish for this New Year is to get married! Hahaha, just kidding-lar!

2 comments:

Christopher C said...

Happy New Year!

calvin said...

@ Christopher C:
Happy New Year to you too, Nemo!

MORE ARCHIVED ENTRIES
February 24, 2014 - Malaysia Won Big At Chiba Kun Ambassador's Grammy Event
January 28, 2014 - Amazing Hot Spring Bath Of Inubousaki
January 24, 2014 - Fresh Sumptuous Seafood From Choshi
January 22, 2014 - Making Handkerchief With Choshi's Chijimi
January 18, 2014 - Aiberry From Tounosho-machi
January 04, 2014 - Welcoming 2014
December 14, 2013 - Sumptuous Bamboo Shoot Cuisine At Takenoko
December 09, 2013 - Spectacular Fall Colours of Yoro Keikoku
December 06, 2013 - Siti Nurhaliza At ASEAN-Japan Music Festival 2013
December 02, 2013 - Ossan Power Won Us Third Place In Futsal
November 20, 2013 - Shirahama Marine Museum
October 24, 2013 - Tateyama's Hasshokudon
October 14, 2013 - Okinoshima Of Tateyama
September 20, 2013 - Ota Ward's Festival Of Fireworks
September 16, 2013 - Yamanote Line Marathon - The Run
September 15, 2013 - Yamanote Line Marathon - The Preparation
August 30, 2013 - The Art Of Making Futomaki-zushi
July 31, 2013 - Tojo-tei House Of Tokugawa Akitake
July 29, 2013 - Weighty As Baby George
July 19, 2013 - Summer Icebreaker At Yuigahama Beach
July 16, 2013 - Hydrangea Of Hondoji Temple
July 11, 2013 - Comesta - Italian Home Restaurant In Noda City
July 03, 2013 - Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum
June 19, 2013 - I Was In Japanese Newspaper
June 13, 2013 - Making Traditional Japanese Fan - Boshu Uchiwa
June 09, 2013 - Chiba Kun Ambassadors For The Third Straight Year
June 04, 2013 - Tateyama's Broiled Seafood Bowl & Daifukuji Temple
May 31, 2013 - The Hidden Gem Of Enoshima
May 16, 2013 - Golden Week Gathering 2013
May 14, 2013 - Food Hunt Around Sendai
May 10, 2013 - Cherry Blossom From Inokashira Park
May 01, 2013 - My Experience As An Oversea Voter In Tokyo
April 27, 2013 - Visiting Japan's Most Scenic View Of Matsushima
April 16, 2013 - Weekend Gateway In Sendai
April 11, 2013 - Surprise Belated Birthday Dinner
April 09, 2013 - Turned Twenty Six
April 03, 2013 - Welcoming My 7th Year In Japan
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For the rest of the entries, go to Archive.