We needed a day of rest. At lunch with Face's host parents, I was invited to two (if not three) meals that are truly of cultural importance during Japanese New Year (正月). First, I was to share dinner with them on New Year's Eve, and then I was to come to breakfast on the morning of the New Year. The Japanese New Year or shōgatsu (正月) is a three day celebration that reminds me a lot of Thanksgiving mixed with the American New Year. In the next few days, I saw a lot of family unity, many thanks for the old year and some purification of this year to get things off ont he right foot. With that cultural weight in mind, Face and I decided to lay low around Kobe (神戸市) on New Year's Even (and also to save up some energy for the night itself).
We took in a couple of the shopping areas near the bay area of Kobe, including really diving into the depths of the shopping avenues around the Sannomiya (三ノ宮) district. We saw some interesting takes on American Western stores. We saw Chinatown in a Japanese city and did some light shopping before heading back for dinner.
Dinner was explained to me as almost something of a purifying experience. Many of the traditional Japanese foods came out here. I really took my time. The Sumidas were very hospitable, explaining everything that came to mind about the foods that I would pick up. And, I managed chopsticks pretty well.
I didn't take many pictures of dinner, but I sure did of breakfast. I really liked everything I ate in Japan, and I was doing fine eating everything that came in front of me until this morning. Imagine: New Year's morning and all you have is raw fish, raw fish eggs and some warm sake (酒). I am proud to say I tried everything and kept up with Aaron, but I did leave some Herring eggs and some carmelized fishies behind on my plate. There was some ham and eggs brought out, and I jumped on that real quickfast. The Sumidas were very understanding and took both of our eating habits pretty lightly; they said that even many of the foods are not seen again until a year later. I think that there might even be some inside humor about is eaten around this holiday.
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