Friday, February 3, 2012

New Year's Pictures!

I'm terribly late with posting these photos of our family and friends during winter break. The girls had  great time playing with their cousins, all 4 of the! Junko's sister is very busy.

What a spread, What a haircut!


"It's g-g-good!"

Bunch a hippies!

Who's the biggest kid?

Junko's sister is the only normal one.

Christmas Pctures!

Better late than never.

Santa's little helpers

Michiko Sensei  and the girls, chocolate house #1.

Christmas party #1, chocolate house #2

Yes, it's a girl.

New Year's Food, Osechi 御節, Chikuzeni 筑前煮, Toshikoshi Soba年越しそば

Here are some of the dishes Junko made for our special New Year's Feast.

chikuzeni 筑前煮
 There is chikuzeni 筑前煮, a stew with chicken, renkon(lotus root), carrots, mushrooms, and takenoko(bamboo shoots).

Osechi 御節
 Osechi 御節 is a traitional New Year's platter usually made the day before and served on Ja 1st cold in pretty dishes. All the foos have some good luck meaning. Osechi takes a lot of cooking to prepare because there are so many small dises, but the idea is that housewives get a break from cooking on Jan. 1st. In reality, it's probably more work.

Toshikoshi Soba年越しそば

 And of course, there's traditional soba noodles. These are eaten on New Year's Eve, for good luck. this is called Toshikoshi Soba年越しそば

Happy Setsubun

Setsubun Oni-Grrr!


Smart Cheese

Japanese are not big cheese lovers or milk drinkers, for that matter. Little kids often eat, "Baby Cheese", little balls of mild white cheese. But, I really love this on. It's a baby cheese marketted at adults. It has a really strong, salty taste, almost like blue cheese. It's called "Smart Cheese". I take it in my lunch sometimes at school and joke I et it to be smart.

Cheeza Crackers, the Best Cheese Taste

I love these, too. They pack a wholop of intense cheese taste. When they say 51% cheese, they ain't kiddin! They come in Cheddar, Camembert, and Gorgonzola, like blue cheese. It's marketted as a beer snack, but I can enjoy it anytime. The only problem, it's expensive, around 198 yen, about $2 for a tiny little bag. But please try it.
cheeza crakers

cheeza crackers

Willy Wonka Bar; the Best Chololate Bar in the World!

I absolutely love these. Japanese chocolate is good, like Ghana, but nothing beats the Willy Wonka Bar for size and taste. It's really big, and expensive at over $5 a bar. But worth the treat every once in a while. The box has Japanese on it too. I never found a Golden ticket inside, though.

Willy Wonka Bar

Willy Wonka Bar

Willy Wonka Bar close up

Hoshigaki(dried persimmons)柿 Daisuki

A few of the plethora of hoshigaki, dried persimmons from Junko's parents. I love these things, thick, sweet, and chewy. A little like the inside of a fig newton. This is one of the two main varieties of persimmons in Japan, the other kind being eaten fresh. These are picked and then strung up like a string of pearls to dry in the sun, a common sight on people's balconies in the autumn. The little tops would be a great hat for an acorn person craft. I much prefer these to the little winter oranges people eat while sitting under the kotatsu.



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