Monday, December 31, 2007


Good morning!
We are already on December 31st here in Japan and the day has started off with a bang. The computer won't work! The heater won't work! Tetsu is overnight at the convalescent home so he gave me a hug, said he was sorry to leave me in these straits and didn't have much advice. So here I am, bundled up well thinking maybe I should go up to the sewing room and heat it with the little electric heater and sew for two days forgetting about the rest of the house and about blogging.

I don't know what we'll do about the computer. It crashed this morning and I no longer can get into Internet by normal routes. This means I have temporarily lost all blogging links unless I search for them through Google. I cannot find Bloglines! I also finally got into my own "create a post" by going through Tonya's blog and into her class blog and into my own profile etc. I hate to be so computer illiterate in some ways and so dependent on it in other ways. I feel I should have a balanced degree of computer knowledge but not so. I have sent an SOS e-mail to my son (in California!) and maybe he can give me advice or get into my computer some way.

I fixed Tetsu's mother's hanten. Tetsu took me directly from her apartment (where we determined it was really too short) to the fabric store and I bought more fabric and sewed it and tacked it on so that it doesn't look half bad! I think I got points in her book not only because I can make a hanten but also that I could fix it in a day's time. Tetsu took the longer version back to her yesterday and she says it fits perfectly now. Yeah!

And do you know what this is? This is called omochi the official food of the New Year. Omochi is made of sticky rice (a different type from what we eat normally) and it is pounded until it turns into paste. This is then shaped into balls or into a slab and in the case of the slab, it hardens and is later cut into squares. Our omochi came from three different sources. My pear farmer friends give us a huge slab at the end of every year and I've already cut it in half and taken one piece to Tetsu's mother. The other omochi pieces were given to me by English children whose parents are farmers. I see that the green one has soybeans in it and it has been colored green probably by seaweed.

Omochi itself is tasteless but on New Year's day it can be put into Japanese vegetable soup or mixed with different things for entirely different tastes. Too many to go into here! Tetsu likes it mixed with sweet soybean powder or sweet beanpaste. Sometimes we have it with seaweed, soy sauce and butter. Anyway, you can't have New Years without omochi.

Since my grandparents on my mother's side were from Japan, omochi wasn't unkown in my American home and occasionally we'd find it in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. My mother liked it but my Caucasian father thought it absolutely terrible! He used to tease my mother and say things like "Do you know why Japanese only eat omochi on New Year's day? Because it stays in the pit of your stomach for a whole year!" It is true that it is a very heavy food and we really don't need to eat much else except for omochi on New Year's Day.
Okay, I need to do some shopping since tomorrow all the stores will be closed. Then I'm spending the day sewing! Hope I can get back into the blog tomorrow.


Marilyn R said...

Thanks for sharing about the New Year's customs in Japan. I would like to try Omochi, I can't say that about other Japanese foods that I have seen or heard about. I am sure there are American foods that a Japanese person wouldn't like to try please don't anyone take offense. :-)

dee said...

I just want to thank you for a year filled with interesting and fun posts. I love hearing about your customs and foods and as a bonus...quilting and sewing. Anyway, I wish you a very healthy and Happy New Year

atet said...

Tonya -- I hope your computer problems are easy to solve! It sounds like you and Tetsu had a lovely Christmas -- I hope your new year is full of love, joy and plenty of stitching time!

Luna said...

I hope all your problems are better and I also would like to say "Thank you" for all your interesting and nice posts over the year.
I wish you and your family and animals a healthy, quilty and Happy New Year !!!

Quilt Pixie said...

I hope 2008 is a better year computer wise for you. Very very frustrating when it doesn't work the way you want/expect.

Laurie Ann said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts about your life in Japan. They are really quite fascinating! I am amazed that I have been hosting Japanese students for a week of each year for the last eight years and I haven't learned more. I guess I am asking the wrong questions!

I did get a package from Japan last week for Christmas though from our "Japanese daughters" Naho and Yoshiko. They sent a whole tine of Leaf Pie. My favorite!!

Shelina said...

I hope your computer and heater problems get resolved quickly. It's too late to blame it on Y2k! I'm impressed that you were able to get the hanten fixed so quickly. I wouldn't have been able to do it at all.

meggie said...

The Hanten looks lovely & warm. Well done.
I hope you manage to keep warm.
I was interested to read that 2008 will be the Year of the Mouse. I have a little great nephew due to be born & I dont think we have another Mouse in the family!