urban thoughts


Juxtaposition of small and large in central Tokyo

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Winter excursion to Japan

My family are all looking forward to the annual trip to Japan - this year we are going for Christmas and New Year.
Many people are surprised to discover that Christmas Day is not a holiday - and that to most people in Japan it is just another day.  A business day, a work day, a school day.

New Year is the big event - with family get-togethers, symbolic and festive food, drinking parties, exchanging greeting cards and present-giving.
The last few days of the year are spent cleaning the house so you start the New Year fresh and preparing elaborate dishes so you don't have to do any cooking for the first three days of the year.

The dishes are the Japanese equivalent of mince pies, Christmas pudding and stuffing - warming winter food made from traditional preserved ingredients.  Not raisins and candied peel in Japan though, herring roe, konbu seawed and black beans ... an acquired taste for many (foreigners).

  • Soba noodles on News Year Eve symbolise long life.
  • Preserved chestnut or sweet potato is yellow like gold
  • Herring eggs are for fertility and lots of children
  • Small dried fishes are for a good harvest
  • Anything red is lucky
  • The grilled snapper fish is a play on words 'Omedetai' - congratulations!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas sparkle

It's the time of year for making Christmas cards and this year I wanted to use sparkly Christmas photos.  I did not have enough photos from Tokyo - not Christmassy ones - so I went to Liberty of London and some shops on Upper Street.

  They turned out ok I think.