|Papier Mache Snake; Miharu Village Fukushima|
-HEISEI 25 (Japan)
-BUDDHIST ERA 2557 (April)
-YEAR OF THE (BLACK) WATER SNAKE (February - Lunar New Year)!
It seems that I've posting lots of food images lately, but as these relate to Japanese culture and have always been a passion of mine; here go some more.
Below are images from traditional Japanese New Year's meals. The foods are symbolic of good luck, long life, prosperity, etc. in their names (sometimes homonyms for other auspicious words) or physical shapes (image the shrimps curved back representing the bent backs of the elderly and symbolizing long life.)
|parboiled ozouni ingredients|
In the morning, the typical dish served is Ozouni, the central component being omochi, glutinous rice cakes grilled to a golden brown. These are served in either clear soup or miso soup, depending on the region of Japan (clear soup - Eastern Japan, miso - Western Japan) or the family's traditions.
Omochi (using the honorific 'O' here before 'mochi') stretches and is therefore symbolic of extending life and prosperity.
Ironically, the chewy nature of mochi also causes a few choking deaths each year in Japan and hearing those statistics is somewhat of a national pastime in the early weeks of the year. Let's hope that this year's tally will be 'zero!'
|stove top grilling mochi|
|ready to eat...|
|boxes full of delicacies...|
|takuri, "rice paddy maker"|
|loaded tray with sake|
|matcha cheesecake w/azuki cream|
|Charaku Matcha in Lee Love chawan|