Out of all the holidays, I’ve grown to love the New Year.
It must be the hope that comes with the unknown. The fact that it’s new, the year’s bound to have something good to offer. Old troubles from the previous year disappears and everything is a clean slate again.
I’ve had the luck of spending my New Year differently for the past three years. And it’s interesting how each New Year brings a new experience for me. This year was rather laidback compared the previous year. Perhaps I’m starting this year with clearer head and a calm compared to last year.
Last year was filled with excitement as it was my first New Year to spend with a Japanese family. A close friend of mine, the Sugawaras, decided to share this holiday for me and spend that time, Japanese style.
Now I’m not saying that this is what Japanese people usually do. It’s best to say that this is what Japanese people spend the New Year’s when they’re far away from home. While they may not go to temples, play badminton, and all that jazz, some New Year traditions never change. The joy of having to eat an osechi and ozoni is still a staple in this Japanese home away from home.
This may be a month too late but it’s still a very fond memory to me. I started my new year the same time as the Japanese and this year, in the spirit of my love for noodles, I had my first Toshikoshi Soba. 年 越し蕎麦 (toshi koshi soba) may look just like your regular soba dish but it actually represents the ending of the year and the start of the new. Japanese would usually have a bowl of soba the minute midnight strikes. It’s similar to how Filipinos should have pancit. The toshikoshi soba’s a symbol of longevity that we may endure the coming year.