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First Alex Pic of 2019…and An Afternoon at Hikawa

We took a brief outing to our local Toys R Us in Minami-Furuya New Year’s morning, for the first time in a long time. The weather has been great all week…I’m thankful for that. The store wasn’t that busy either…don’t know if that is good or bad, considering the company filing bankruptcy not long ago.

When we got home,some of us enjoyed the Japanese traditional New Year’s meal, called Osechi…while others (Alex) didn’t. We never eat all of the items in a traditional Osechi, we always choose what we want to eat. Extremely boring in comparison to others maybe…but that’s fine.

Later in the day, we made our pilgrimage to Hikawa Shrine in Kawagoe…and our first time to go there on New Year’s day, in several years. It’s usually a mad house the first few days of the new year, but we decided to go anyway, because we had to go pay respects at the cemetery.

We turned in our old charms, bought some new ones, said our prayers and Alex did a little fishing…

Starting off the new year on a low key, isn’t so bad…

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Lindsey Stirling – Carol of the Bells

Do you remember the first recorded Christmas music that you listened to? My first was maybe way back in 1981 or 82…and it was a cassette that we acquired somehow. I played it on my new cassette player/recorder that I had gotten for my birthday (?) a few months prior. I loved the tape.

Several years later, I discovered Mannheim Steamroller on television…and was won over on the new style of Christmas music. I never bought their music, but I enjoyed it when I could catch it on TV (later, YouTube).

Musicians are constantly trying to keep Christmas music and hymns exciting and appealing…especially to newer generations of listeners. No one will ever replace Gene Autry or Dean Martin as Christmas music staples, but you can’t exactly turn away from some of the newer artists like Lindsey Stirling, either.

I love that Celtic sound…it adds excitement and new mysticism to Christmas music again.

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Sakura 2018…With a Graduation Beforehand

Alex, our son, had his preschool graduation on March 26th…we are very proud of him! After the ceremony, we stopped by Hikawa Jinja (shrine) to view this year’s cherry blossoms. This place in Kawagoe is one of the most popular viewing spots…and is usually crowded. I even saw a drone hovering between the branches…times are changing.

Another place in Kawagoe is the Kawagoe Aquatic Park. They have dozens of sakura, and hundreds (maybe thousands?) go there for ohanami (sakura viewing) every blooming season.

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Why do some southerners eat black-eyed peas, hog jowls and greens on New Year’s Day?

I’m from Alabama…but I’ve never eaten these for New Years. Never cared for black-eyed peas or hog jowls, but give me a mess of greens and cornbread, anyday! While I’ve been in Japan, I do eat Osechi every New Years. What do you eat for New Years? Share in the comments, below.

English: Ham hock and black-eyed peas
English: Ham hock and black-eyed peas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/12/why_do_we_eat_black-eyed_peas.html#incart_river_mobileshort_home

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Osechi 2017 (Traditional New Year’s Japanese Foods)

A new year has begun, and we get to enjoy osetchi again this year! The traditional osechi is very elaborate, and can be very expensive…depending on how it is prepared. We always just put together our favorite items, and we enjoy it. Here are some photos from this years osetchi, but click the link below to find out more!

osechi-2017-1 osechi-2017-2 osechi-2017-3 osechi-2017-4

Source: Osechi – Wikipedia