Articles related to the New Year’s, お正月 (O-Shogatsu), still are featured in some Japanese magazines. Today, one week after we celebrated the beginning of 2011, I went to the bookstore and saw a cool article about the Japanese New Year’s traditions. So… I think it’s not too late to talk about my New Year’s Eve.
This year it was really interesting because my husband and I followed some Japanese New Year’s rituals for the first time.
We went to the Buddhist temple on the morning of January 1st with our friends. It was so crowded at Sensoji Temple (the oldest temple in Tokyo) that if we wanted to leave the line on the way, we couldn’t.
The tradition is to pray and throw a five yen coin in front of the altar.
“Why five yen coin?” This was just the first question I asked my Japanese friend. The meaning is in the pronunciation of the words ”five yen” in Japanese, 五円 (go-en). The prefix go is used to give formality to some words and en means fate, chance, opportunity.
During the holiday, we had a class with our Japanese teacher about Japanese New Year’s traditional food, おせち理料(Osechi ryori). In fact, Osechi ryori is composed of several types of preserved food that are served together in boxes that fit on top of each other. Each food has a meaning because of the ingredients that were used to cooked it. The meanings are basically health, long life and family’s prosperity.
The tradition of Osechi ryori started a long time ago because the Japanese housewives used to worked hard during all year long and so that they could rest during the New Year’s holiday, they began making these preserved foods, 保存食(ほぞんしょく- hozonshoku).
Aoya is the kind of coffee shop and restaurant that is hard to find in Tokyo nowadays. In this huge city there are a variety of places to eat and drink but few of them preserve traditional japanese architecture, furnishings, tableware and delicious food all together.
When went to Aoya I was really interested to see the beautiful old architecture that draws you into traditional Japanese culture.
Aoya is hidden in one of many narrow streets in Nakameguro.
Click here to see the amazing homepage.
It`s not easy to find a relaxing place where you can eat delicious food and listen to good music, especially in a foreign country. Notes from Tokyo has found a delightful cafe called, Café Madu in Omotesando. The cafe/restaurant/shop is down one of those typically narrow and quiet streets that you find all over Tokyo, the menu has food from over the world and is very good. The ambience is lightly sprinkled with Bossa Nova and after finishing your meal you can enjoy the handcraft shop that is connected to the restaurant. They mainly sell Japanese porcelain and they also offer their items on their web-site (Japanese only).
Even though Japanese cuisine is regarded as the best in the world, it is also worthwhile to taste some of the other culinary dishes from around the globe offered by Tokyo. One of the most charming restaurants in the Japanese capital is, Bistro Le Soleil, aside from the delicious food the atmosphere is cozy and familiar.