New Years eve was a bit relaxed considering the day before we met up with so many people. In a group of about 17 people spread amongst 3 tables we decided to have fun and enjoy the last days of the year.
On New Years Eve it is tradition amongst the group I was with to eat Nabe and watch the countdown at a friends house. Nabe is an assortment of vegetables and meat poured into a stone pot that is cooked in Japanese sauce. The type of vegetables, meats, noodles, and sauce all vary depending on what kind of Nabe you would like to eat. Of course there were also drinks for everyone, but again we were somewhat relaxed due to the night before. Afterwards, the mother of the home brought us hot soba with green onion slices. There was no ball drop in Japan that we watched, but instead there was a famous idol group that counted down with the timer on screen. The idol group was an all boys singing group, of which I’ve seen a few times, but don’t much care to learn or remember the name. After the countdown, we decided to take two cars to a temple on Mt. Hatta or otherwise known as Hattasan 法多山.
Cars in Japan are not the biggest thing you’ll ever see. Most Toyota or Honda brand cars are very standard size, however, contrary to those brands are mini cars. They seat 4 people and are shaped like a box with wheels. I’m sure they are gas efficient and capable of carrying luggage for 2-3 people if necessary, but I would never in my life buy one of them. The point of me explaining this is we managed to fit 6 people into this car for an hour long trip.
Following the trip, we headed up the mountain. It was all dark on the path towards the hills which made it difficult to see where you were going, and as you made your way up you realized how monstrous the temple really was. I didn’t bring my camera so all of the photos were from Yuuki.
Our friends ran ahead of us so we had gone through the lines, said our prayers and resolutions, and continued on to look at the charms. There were many types of charms being offered that you could buy. They are meant to help with luck, safety, health, studying, etc. I bought a charm to help me study Japanese so we’ll see how much it helps me.
After we had our charms we found our other friends, except now one was missing. He had fainted as he ran up the hill to keep up with the others. After he fainted one of the people at the temple helped him into a room much like an expensive Japanese-style inn. It had been more funny for us than anything, because this person is normally finding himself in situations similar to this. I told him to get better and everyone followed sarcastically.
Soon after, at around four in the morning, we made our way back down the mountain and headed home. The next morning we had been greeted by a special New Years breakfast from Yuuki’s mother. The box is called an Osechi, which is customary to eat on New Years day. There was also Omochi, which is comparable to thick taffy in texture with nearly no taste. The rose shaped box is salmon, the orange balls are fish eggs, the pink and white are vegetables, yellow is smashed and whole melon, the 3 pieces next to the shrimp are a type of sweet egg, and the big thing in the middle is raw shrimp. We each had eggs with eel cooked into it and a thick piece of ham. Feel free to let me know what looks good to you.