We're celebrating with Sak's family this year, which means I get to learn about all the Japanese traditions - not just those that Sak prefers, haha.
We started with mochi making, using two automatic mochi pounders that cook the mochi rice and then vibrate/churn it into a sticky fluff. Then the giant mochi mass is put into a funnel-shaped mochi cutter to make even pieces. I tried my hand at smoothing the mochi balls but wasn't that great at it. Luckily the aunties fixed them all up nicely!
|the "flour" is potato starch!|
according to wikipedia).
On New Year's Eve we partied with family and then ate soba noodles as we waited for midnight. Oahu has a fireworks ban in place now (unless you have a permit), but there were still plenty of people lighting up the sky!
In the morning we ate ozoni soup for breakfast, which includes mochi and assorted root veggies like daikon, lotus root and konyaku. I ate everything except the konyaku. Yam jello is a level of food appreciation I have not yet reached.
At a second family party, we feasted on another spread of food - think sashimi, sushi and poke galore. I even had tripe poke! This time there was also osechi included, cute little bentos of different tidbits of flavors and meanings. My favorite is the kuromame, which is a sweetish black bean, but this red bean cake took the award for prettiest presentation by far:
Lastly, Sak helped his mom fold otoshidama money envelopes (the equivalent of a lycee red envelope) for the kids.
Learning new traditions is pretty awesome - and I'd like to continue some of these in the future! Though I think it'd just be even more win-win to come back to Hawaii every new year instead, haha!
How did you spend your new year?