untitled-1013January 01, 201550 mmISO 100

Happy New Year — I’ve missed you all!

Fist off, I started this blog a year ago today — time flies.

I need to apologize for the unintended absence. For my birthday (on October 6th) ANA sent me a special promotion which I used to take an unscheduled, unplanned, always needed two-week vacation. When I came back I had essays up the kazoo to grade and, by chance, there was opening for a promotion.

I wanted the promotion.

I needed to prepare for the test (the first step in the application process), then for three successive interviews. I made it to the third and final group interview, but I didn’t get the job. That was at the end of November.

I sulked through most of December before getting in holiday mode — cooking, shopping, planning, and getting all my work done as our third year students graduate.

Excuses aside, I’m back. I didn’t mean to take a long holiday. Life happens — and I don’t get paid for this, so priorities. 😉

 

Osetchi, tier one (Japanese foods)

Osetchi, tier one (Japanese foods)



I did have time to consider what my blog means to me in the time I was away. I did start this as a means to reach out and connect with other people who share my passion for cooking and food — all things connected to food and eating. My blog then turned into a photography blog. I tried different ways to separate the two but photography was more fun to post about, however it’s not my real goal. I want to focus on my cooking and so I’m going to keep my photography in Flicker with a few here and there to liven up a given post.

I do love photography, perhaps even more than food. To take pictures and edit them require lots of time. To balance blogging and photography I’m setting a goal to post here once a week. I might post more, but I’d rather post a quality food post that’s informative than several small ones. We’ll see how it works out.

For this first week of the new year I thought I’d post about our New Year’s Osetchi.

Osetchi, tier two (French foods)

Osetchi, tier two (French foods)

Every year I’ve been in Japan for the New Year’s holiday I’ve spent the week it takes to make all the best dishes I can eek out of my kitchen — and it’s expensive. Two years ago I spent the equivalent of 700USD for Osetchi and it’s accompaniments (crab, sashimi, wine, etc). This year I purchased one of the many pre-made osetchi boxes available through department stores. They range in price from 2000USD to a modest 100USD. The food should be enough that it lasts for three days. I went with the Dean & Deluca osetchi box and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Osetchi, tier three (French/Japanese fusion foods)

Osetchi, tier three (French/Japanese fusion foods)

I enjoy Japanese traditional foods (tray one); however, the other two trays of western delicacies blew them away. The duck confit, the home made sausages, the sea urchin mouse and on and on and on were some of the best things I’ve eaten in ages. The beef! I’ve never had beef so tender that it literally begins to melt while chewing.

Ostchi served with sashimi on the first day with soup with oven roasted motchi.

Ostchi served with sashimi on the first day with soup with oven roasted motchi.

So enjoy these photos of my first feast of the New Year and let me know in the comments how you’ve all been doing.

 

The new year in Japan.

On January 2nd the Imperial Family opens the East wing of their palace to the public. While we may not enter their residence we are allowed into the mail courtyard. The family makes an appearance at the window, the Emperor makes a short speech, and they all wave. It’s my first time attending — I’ve never been to a more crowded place in all my life (I’m tall enough to see just how crowded it was). These are a few photos I took at the event.

The Imperial family and their well wishers.

The Imperial family and their well wishers.

The second bridge across the moat leading into the palace, visible only twice a year.

The second bridge across the moat leading into the palace, visible only twice a year.

Photo of a photo of the people in the Imperial courtyard.

When one becomes a multitude.

New Year is one of the few times in the year when the Japanese flag is displayed nationally.

New Year is one of the few times in the year when the Japanese flag is displayed nationally.

During the first three days of the new year it is auspicious to visit a shrine or a temple. While there one purchases symbols for luck.

During the first three days of the new year it is auspicious to visit a shrine or a temple. While there one purchases symbols for luck.

...or hires the temple priests to say prayers over you. (The entry to that part of the shrine is off limits to all but family. This is the entry).

…or hires the temple priests to say prayers over you. (The entry to that part of the shrine is off limits to all but family. This is the entry).

Of course the shrines and temples are never more crowded than during the new year season.

Of course the shrines and temples are never more crowded than during the new year season.

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26 Comments on “Happy New Year — I’ve missed you all!

  1. Love how the food looks! It is so rich in color and beautifully arranged! I find that food and photography kinda go hand in hand. Though both take time and patience, their combo is so rewarding! 🙂

    Like

  2. I found you just before you disappeared and did wonder where the heck ya went! So, its cool to see you again. Digging your food, looks pretty darn delicious, amazing pictures too. Had me leaning in to the computer screen for a sniff! LOL! Wishing you magical, fun filled, exciting, scrumptious and rainbow fuelled 2015. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thank you very much.

      I’ll being post again in a few days. I’m working on those pics this weekend. (I have a new book of photography techniques I’m going to try out. 🙂

      Like

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