January 28



2014
Happy New Year

あけましておめでとございます。
Bom Ano Novo
















new year's cleaning
and traditional decoration with kagamimochi



seeds of portuguese kale drying for next  year

















kagamimochi
























Kagami mochi (鏡餅), literally mirror rice cake, is a traditional Japanese New Year decoration. It usually consists of two round mochi (rice cakes), the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai (a Japanese bitter orange) with an attached leaf on top. In addition, it may have a sheet of konbu and a skewer of dried persimmons under the mochi.
It sits on a stand called a sanpō (三宝) over a sheet called a shihōbeni (四方紅), which is supposed to ward off fires from the house for the following years. Sheets of paper called gohei (御幣) folded into lightning shapes similar to those seen on sumo wrestler's belts are also attached.

The kagami mochi first appeared in the Muromachi period (14th-16th century). The name kagami ("mirror") is said to have originated from its resemblance to an old-fashioned kind of round copper mirror, which also had a religious significance. The reason for it is not clear. Explanations include mochi being a food for sunny days,the 'spirit' of the rice plant being found in the mochi,and the mochi being a food which gives strength.
The two mochi discs are variously said to symbolize the going and coming years, the human heart, "yin" and "yang", or the moon and the sun.








Osechi

traditional osechi new year's delicacies
made by the sweet Tanaka Naoko san
 Originally, during first three days of the New Year it was a taboo to use a hearth and cook meals, except when cooking zōni. Osechi was made by the close of the previous year, as women did not cook in the New Year.



















kagamibiraki









 Ozōni ,
miso soup for the new year 
 with kagamibiraki mochi


glass plate Kristina Mar


Kagami Biraki (鏡開き) is a Japanese traditional ceremony which literally translates to "Opening the Mirror" (from an abstinence) or, also, "Breaking of the Mochi." It traditionally falls on January 11 (odd numbers are associated with being good luck in Japan) It refers to the opening of a Kagami mochi, or to the opening of a cask of Sake at a party or ceremony.


By this time, the kagami mochi is usually quite brittle, and cracks appear on the surface. The mochi is not cut with a knife, since cutting has negative connotations (cutting off ties) and is instead broken with one's hands or a hammer.
Many Japanese martial arts dojo use the Kagami Biraki ceremony to signify their first practice of the New Year.


                                                                                                                       

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