Often, I go back to see family members in the UK at Christmas and the New Year. Of course, with Corona virus this year, it was not possible. I am happy to spend the holiday season in Japan too. In spite of being in a semi-locked down state, I had a lot going on this year. I cooked roast chicken for part of my family and a couple of friends who were able to gather. In spite of missing some of the usual members, we were able to enjoy a good time spread out, but eating together.
The following day I had an interesting job for the Tango Weavers Association. They are taking part in a project with Kyoto Yuzen Dyers and Nishijin Weavers to make an online interactive site to display their works. I had picked out three kimono to wear, and I dressed in each one, and stood on a small, revolving stage. I had to stand perfectly still and not even move my eyes, as my photograph was taken from 360 degrees. This was a new and interesting experience, and it is not as easy as it sounds.
On New Year’s Eve my lodger, Nichole, a scholarship student from Ecuador, invited a friend over, and we shared a New Year that was an interesting mixture of Japan and Ecuador. My contribution was to make noodles for everyone, and we flavoured them with yuzu. That was the Japanese part. The Ecuadorian part was to stand one chairs when the clock strikes 12, eat twelve grapes, (we used raisins), and then jump over a burning doll of someone who you want destroyed. This is followed by a run with a suitcase, to ensure that you are able to travel during the year. Ecuador has very interesting New Year customs.
A friendly elderly neighbour invited us to eat her osechi on New Year’s Day. I wore a blue antique kimono with plum blossoms and nightingales on it. Nichole practices tea ceremony and she made matcha for us, and then we enjoyed osechi and ozoni, and probably ate too much. It was a beautiful day, and the sun shone brightly giving us hope at New Year.
Next time, I’ll tell you about this special way to spend the New Year.