I hope you had a restful wonderful new years break, where ever you are. Something about New Years always makes me think about Grandparents. It seems like New Years brings out the Grandparents doing “Grandparent-like” things with their kids; little kids being brats & loving it, preteens cringing & enduring it till they get their long awaited tiny precious envelope. Maybe it’s because we always visited our Ojichan & Obachan for new years that I'm reminded of Grandparents. To me, my O&O’s was the place of fairy tale breakfasts & elaborate Japanese dinners by my “career-cook” Obachan, who probably slept in a sleeping bag in the kitchen. She rarely came out except to eat leftovers from the fridge at the end of the meal & then was quickly back in to start on dishes.
There’s nothing like waking up & stumbling into the dining room snuggling under the kotastu & being served fluffy scrambled eggs with ham, thick white bread with strawberry jam & whole milk. Needless to say, it was a far cry from the fare that we ate daily and I was in breakfast heaven.
For some reason my dad recalled these visits with pain, it seemed to us like he was being tortured to have to drink beer at breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack & bedtime. I have my suspicions. My parents also seemed tortured to have to watch TV at breakfast, lunch, dinner & bedtime. I don’t doubt this at all. Naturally we kids pretended to act tortured as well, unsuccessfully. That is until Ojichan would turn on the marathon channel. I believe it was the top universities yearly competition. It was pretty sad, as it was an all day event & Ojichan insisted on watching the whole thing. I had a sneaking suspicion that the marathon channel was God’s way of punishing me for enjoying the TV watching. The part I looked forward to was when the runners would get to the finish line & then collapse into a group of concerned coaches & attendants who carried their skinny body away. I was secretly hoping maybe something really dramatic would happen, like CPR or something. Unfortunately it never did. Well, besides that, at the end of this feasting-TV-watching-ofuro-taking event, we were each given our own 2 envelopes with our otoshidama. It was like getting paid to have New Years. Wonderful! And we’d joyfully torture Mom & Dad singing on the entire 8 hour traffic ridden ride home!
I was given a tip by an “alert-foodie-blog-reader” to check out the Yuletide feasting on this blog. WOW!!! I have no comment. My initial reaction was to feel an incredible sense of hunger & a slight feeling of…well…..ok…it was green….and had (e-hum) one eye….. OK, well that lasted for about 5 seconds because I soon realized that most of the people at this “eat-a-thon” were obviously deprived & lacking. Why you ask? As you gaze upon these pictures from the blog of my dearest Niki, who lives there as well you will observe there are those (and I can count at least 5 heads)who right about now willing to give up their left pinkie for a bite of freshly made shogastu mochi with butter, shoyu & brown sugar, or kinako, a bite of oden, a scoop ozoni, nama beru & edamame, a momentary snuggle under a kotastu. Yes, I may be wrong, but it makes me feel good to think it’s true.
So I took a praise walk down to the department store 2 minutes away. And felt very smug as I sauntered down the oden section, the tofu section, the dried wakame-shitake-&-other-miso-zairyo section, the tsuyu, shoyu & mirin section, the su section, the cup lamen section, the sembe section & the ocha section, for once I enjoyed the shogastu music & had seconds on nasu-pickles that were being offered. Call it green grapes if you like, but I intend on going home & making ozoni with a renewed zest for this New Year.