Happy New Year 2015. Fourteen hours behind Japan, we welcomed the year 2015 the traditional way here in the U.S. by watching the drop of the ball in Times Square. (This happened well past my bedtime and I had nodded off. My wife, however, was much more alert and woke me with a New Year’s kiss). Does this delegate me to official “senior” status? We all grew older in 2014 as we witnessed those in the generation before us blaze the trail we will inevitably tread ourselves one day. But despite some surgery and other issues it was nonetheless a good year and for that we are thankful. The very first day of 2015 is cold but very sunny for a change in the Washington DC area. As usual, I displayed a “Plastic” Kagami-mochi 鏡餅 decoration containing packaged round mochi inside in our tokonoma 床の間.
2015 is a year of “ram” or “sheep” 羊. So, we took out our “ram” and “sheep” zodiac figures.
Since we are having a cold but sunny day, instead of staying in our “tea room” to imbibe and indulge like we have done most years, we decided to stay under the sun in our sunroom (we prefer to call it conservatory) for our new year’s ozouni お雑煮 soup. We postponed hitting our Sushi Taro supplied “osech” box 寿司太郎のお節重箱 until evening when sun has set. So, I served only items I made with our new year’s soup.
Again, the soup is the same as before. This year, I cut the carrot into plum flower shape, the daikon into pine and bamboo leaf-shape to make “Shou-chiku-bai” 松竹梅 or “pine-bamboo-plum blossom”, an ultimate combination of good luck and fortune in Japan.
As usual, I encased the rice cake “mochi” 餅 in a deep fried tofu pouch 油揚げ tied with gourd peel or Kampyou 干瓢 to accommodate my wife’s request. I think it is a great way to eat mochi in oden or soup.
On the left, behind the perrila leaf 青紫蘇 is daikon namasu 大根なます garnished with salmon “ikura” イクラ roe. In front is thinly sliced boiled and vinegared octopus ( I got a whole 2 lb boiled and frozen octopus from Fish-For-Sushi). On the right, in the back are kelp-salmon rolls 鮭の昆布巻き, In the middle is simmered “Kabocha” カボチャの煮付 and in the front is “Datemaki” 伊達巻 or sweet egg roll which came out a bit pale this year.
We postpone our indulgence until evening to enjoy a bright day and sunshine.