Tanegashima, Japan - January 2016
Happy New Year

- This month was all about the New Year and doing things for the first time, which is pretty important in Japanese culture. The first trip to a shrine, a sunrise, a sunset, going to certain place, area all a part of this culture. In addition, many traditional foods are eaten during the first few days of the month.

Picture - Us ready for the food.
Osechi Ryouri

- Akiko went all out again this year and make osechi ryouri, AKA Japanese traditional food for the New Year. Along with the delicious food is special serving containers. Each food has a special meaning.

Picture - Akiko made some beautiful food.

Japanese people eat a selection of dishes during the New Year celebration called osechi-ryōri (御節料理 or お節料理), typically shortened to osechi. Many of these dishes are sweet, sour, or dried, so they can keep without refrigeration—the culinary traditions date to a time before households had refrigerators, when most stores closed for the holidays. There are many variations of osechi, and some foods eaten in one region are not eaten in other places (or are considered unfortunate or even banned) on New Year's Day. Another popular dish is ozōni (お雑煮), a soup with mochi rice cake and other ingredients that differ based on various regions of Japan. Today, sashimi and sushi are often eaten, as well as non-Japanese foods. To let the overworked stomach rest, seven-herb rice soup (七草粥 nanakusa-gayu) is prepared on the seventh day of January, a day known as jinjitsu (人日).

Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 1.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 2.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 3.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 4.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 5.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 6.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 7.
Picture - Home - A variety of items served as osechi ryouri for the new year 8.
Otoshidama

- Otoshidama is money given to kids for the New Year. Shai was certainly happy to continue this tradition.

Picture - Shai holding up his otoshidama envelope.

Picture - Home - Us hanging out together 1.
Picture - Home - Us hanging out together 2.
Picture - Home - Shai holding up his otoshidama envelope.
Picture - Home - Sake made from cherry blossoms.
Homan Shrine

- We went on our traditional visit to the first shrine of the year, in this case, Homan Shrine. This is a very small shrine but my favorite on the island. There is a really cool walking path which is lit up with old style lanterns. Visiting this place really makes you feel like you are in Japan.

Picture - Us with crazy Shai at Homan Shrine.

Picture - Homan Shrine - The front entry of Homan Shrine.
Picture - Homan Shrine - Us at the entry of Homan Shrine.
Picture - Homan Shrine - The walking path to Homan Shrine.
Picture - Homan Shrine - Shai washing his hands at the chouzubachi.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice front picture Homan Shrine.
Picture - Homan Shrine - Shai making a funny face in front of the shrine.
Picture - Homan Shrine - Shai ringing the bell at the shrine.
First Visits

- New Years day continued with first visits of the new year to many of our favorite places including Nanairo Observatory and Maenohama Beach.

Picture - Us together at the Nanairo Observatory.

Picture - Nanairo Observatory - A beautiful coastline view.
Picture - Nanairo Observatory - Us hanging out together.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Us hanging out together.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A beautiful beach scene.
Picture - Home - New Years treat for Einstein and Copernicus.
Picture - Home - New Years treat for Uhura.
Rock Beach

- Today we went for our first visit of the New Year to the rock beach close to the house.

Picture - Minamitane Rock Beach - Us hanging out together.
Picture - Minamitane Rock Beach - Shai climbing on rocks.
Space Center

- Today we went for our first visit of the New Year to the Tanegashima Space Center beach.

Picture - Tanegashima Space Center Beach - Us hanging out together 1.
Picture - Tanegashima Space Center Beach - Us hanging out together 2.
Picture - Tanegashima Space Center Beach - A beautiful coastline picture.
Picture - Tanegashima Space Center Beach - A group of shells on a rock.
Picture - Tanegashima Space Center Beach - Another beautiful coastline picture.
Picture - Tanegashima Space Center Beach - Us hanging out together.
Favorite Restaurant

- We went to our favorite restaurant, Jinanbou, today.

Picture - Home - Us at the restaurant.
Beach Cow

- Today I went for my usual run on the beach while Akiko and Shai stayed behind to play. I already reached the next wall and was returning when Akiko called and sent a text message that there was a cow on the beach. I began running to their location, and sure enough, there was a man walking his cow on the beach. Go figure.

Picture - Shai on the beach with the man and the cow.

Picture - Maenohama Beach - A man and his cow 1.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A man and his cow 2.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Shai with the man and his cow.
Family Restaurant

- This is definitely our favorite FAMILY restaurant. I was amazed to find this dildo sitting up on the display shelf. Tipping is not customary in Japanese, but in this case, it really seemed like a tip was in order. lol.

Picture - A decoration at our favorite family restaurant.

Picture - Jinanbou Restaurant - A nice penis decoration.
Farm Produce

- A nice assortment from the farms. I really kicked ass this year and produced this, and much more, without the use of chemicals.

Picture - A nice assortment of veggies.

Picture - Home - Really nice farm produce.
Picture - Home - Towels used for warming the room.
Picture - Home - The dogs hanging out together.
 
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