New Year in Kumamon’s City

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A new year means new ideas, new potential, and new opportunities to build the skills and knowledge you need to reach your goals. Make learning a priority from day one!

When 2015 shifted to 2016 I had valuable life-learning experience with Rizky Fitria (I called her Ka Fitri) and Miki-san, a friend of Ka Fitri whose home is in Kumamoto City, it is around 2.5 hours by bus from Fukuoka City. We took a highway bus from Hakata Terminal Station on 31st Dec 2015 in the afternoon so by the time we arrived it was already in the evening.

When I first arrived, I saw a very very old antique traditional Japanese house. It’s like flying back to different era. @.@ There is kotatsu, low table, kadomatsu, Japanese decoration everywhere, ningyo, traditional door, tatami, and everything you can mention about Japanese traditional items.

Anyway this is the house of Miki-san’s mother, an-88-year-old-grandma we called her Obaa-chan. She served so much food all the time as she’s so happy that we paid a visit here. So we all have a nice dinner and supper.

We spent midnight eating soba noodle and watching Live TV show about countdown to a new year. Soba noodle is considered a New Years’ dish in Japan, it is said to bring good fortune if eaten before the year ends, so it has become tradition for generations.

When 2016 we just stayed at home and congratulate each other 🙂
Then we went to sleep. hahaha…

The next day we went to Kumamoto Castle/熊本. Kumamoto Castle is considered the most famous castle in Japan, and the place is huge! I know a lot of people has visited this place and several times I saw their pictures in social medias… Now I got a chance to see it by myself, I felt too grateful :’) !

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Kumamoto castle is very かっこいい!

We took pictures in front of the castle, greeted samurai, drank amazake (甘酒, one kind of fermented non-alcoholic-Japanese drink) and bought souvenirs from the shopping area.

Then in the evening we ate Osechi ryouri (おせち 料理), Japanese new year feast. Obaa-chan bought this for us. In actual tradition, Osechi ryouri is supposed to be made before New Year’s Day dawns, and to last for days without refrigeration during the 7-day New Years period of feasting and rest. The original reason for this period of rest or non-cooking was supposed to be to appease the fire god, Kohjin, who might get pissed if one made fires so early in the year or something. But then in later years, this period of non-cooking was ostensibly to give the housewife a rest – though since she has to spend hours and days making tons of food in advance, you have to wonder how much rest she actually got.

In any case, the need for the food to keep for several days during the non-cooking period accounts for the heavy use of preserving ingredients like sugar, salt and vinegar in osechi ryouri. So actually the food is not as good as it looks, a bit too salty and too sweet for me, but it definitely very very pretty (and expensive if you buy the ready-set-meal!).

We left her house on 2nd in the mid-morning, it was a great experience for me, especially this is my first time to take care of and elderly. Even though it was a bit challenging and frightening to assist doing daily needs, and I maybe as not as helpful as Ka Fitri, but now I become more mature and respect to other people.

-Adj

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