Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Day in Japan

For Japan, New Year is the main family event during the year where most people go back to their home town to spend the holidays with their family. So also for the Salaryman household, as Mrs. Sunshine's grandmother is alive and well back in Osaka, we promptly packed up Baby Sunshine, tucked ourselves into a Shinkansen bullet train over there to spend a few days with her family.

New Year in Japan is mainly about;

1. Watching the horribly dull music "competition" kohaku that just goes on and on with artists catering to all tastes from Grandma to Kids, making most of it dull for everyone. This year, boy-band Arashi MC:ed the event

2. At the morning of New Year's day, do extensive greetings to everyone to wish them a happy new year and ask for their benevolence during 2011

3. Eat the traditional Osechi food which remarkably manages to combine everything I don't like about Japanese cuisine in one amazing and in the Sunshine family, it is only consumed with very moderate amounts of alcohol adding insult to injury

4. Give the kids their small envelopes with New Year's gift money Otoshidama and watch them greedingly fondle their newly acquired wealth. Even baby Sunshine seemed to get caught up in this until she started to try and physically consume the quite significant amount that Grandmother Sunshine had given her (also leading to a minor argument with Mrs. Sunshine where I argued that we should just take the money and waste it on unnecessary luxuries as an advance on all the costs we have with food and lodging for the baby, while Mrs. Sunshine argued that we should set up an account for the baby and save it)

5. Visit a local shrine to hand over the wishlist for 2011 to the Gods and give them some small change in exchange for them granting us good health, extreme wealth and overall happiness in 2011

6. Struggle with the crowds trying to get back home as millions of Japanese are trying to do the same, gloat at the poor bastards who didn't book their seat on the Shinkansen train and have to spend several hours standing

7. Check the harvest of New Year's cards and be pissed off about the people who you sent cards this year but haven't sent any and be nervous about if the people who sent a card but wasn't on the Sunshine-Salaryman New Year's card list will be pissed off at us for not sending a card, if needed, quickly write and send off a card and pretend like it's raining



Corinne said...

Wow, couldn't have put that osechi description better myself!
My hubby was quite miffed that I got 2 more cards than him, but then again everyone knows it's always the woman who goes to extreme levels of cuteness with those damn cards, we should get the credit.

Happy new year mr salary man! Looking forward to reading you in 2011!

Blue Shoe said...

Or the awesomely asinine TV alternative of watching the 5-hour(?) long batsu-game special where comedians participate in stupid mini games and sit around a table talking, and have their asses smacked every 2 minutes for laughing (which is against the rules). Yay Japanese TV!

Mr. Salaryman said...

Corinne - Yeah, I know, never figured out how anyone can really like that stuff! It's just a mix-up of all the bad stuff that can be found and a "western" or "chinese" version doesn't really help much either... Our cards were pretty darn cute and I made them myself!

Blue Shoe - The Downtown Waratte ha ikenai show is the greatest, but the grandma wouldn't really appreciate it I'm afraid... I taped it and enjoying the whole six hours in bursts now!

Foggia said...

Kohaku has to be one of the worst show ever. Glad that my in-laws don't watch so much TV (relatively speaking), and especially not that. We were still watching 行く年来る年, though.

Thumbs up to NHK for finally getting rid of SMAP's Nakai as the main host (this voice...). And thumbs down for putting same-Johnny's-format Arashi instead.

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