A Traditional Japanese New Year



My name is Michael, and this is my third year in Japan, but maybe surprisingly, the first year I have experienced a traditional Japanese New Year. Back home, in America, New Year’s is more of a day to spend with friends, having fun and thinking about the new year. We only have one custom, the countdown, and there are no special foods. On the other hand, of course, in Japan most people spend time with their family, eat special foods and visit a shrine.

As for me, last year, I visited Meji Jinju on New Year’s Day, but this year was the first time I ate osechi. Many of my friends and co-workers had been encouraging me to try osechi, so I was quite excited. However, I knew almost nothing about most of the foods included. Some of my favorites were prawns, red sea-bream, and zoni. Although, some of the more traditional foods such as black beans and konbumaki were much less exciting for me.

However, in the end, it was an interesting experience. Most of all, I think it is a great idea because osechi allows everyone to relax and spend time together, with their family. As for me, I think I may customize osechi with only foods that I enjoy, but keep the tradition as a part of me which I’ll always keep.


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