Well! I have a new nephew, born yesterday (January 7). Nephew #3, but the first on my side of the family. (Way to go, little brother, passing on our genes to the next generation…) He’s also the first of our nieces and nephews we were able to see right away. Break out the red-bean-rice!
|No, we are not his parents. His parents were exhausted. Family photos later.|
|He's a cute little guy!|
Since we spent the week before New Year’s at Urbana, I wasn’t able to make a full-blown osechi this year. Thankfully our friend, Hiromi did, so we ate New Year’s Day osechi lunch at her house.
|Traditional music... お正月の感じです。|
Of course, the purpose of a mochitsuki party is to pound (and eat) mochi. 5 years ago I had a delightful surprise when my dad and brother made me an usu and kine (hollowed out log “mortar” and gigantic hammer for pounding mochi), so we decided to put them to use since we were home this year. I think we made a total of 18 rice-cooker cups of rice into mochi. That’s a lot.
This party was the easiest party ever from the host’s perspective. I was delighted to discover that the two Japanese families I invited knew each other! I just got out the food and kept it coming, and the guests amused themselves with mochi pounding, karuta, and the various musical instruments that live in our house. That’s not to say that I wasn’t amusing myself too.
|Keith leads the kids in Totoro Karuta. The English-speaking kids found it to be pretty difficult...|