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Amparo Bertram

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05:30 pm: New Year celebration time
Although I had to work on Christmas, I was lucky enough to have both days off this weekend, so I invited several friends over for food and fun. I had picked up a cookbook for traditional Japanese New Year food while on my trip in August, and I spent several days during the week preparing vegetable dishes from it. The ingredients are generally simple, but the process for each is quite time consuming. For example, it took me about an hour to carve one carrot into little flower blossom garnishes. Many of the items have to boil for a considerable length of time. Anyway, that kept me sufficiently occupied, to the point that I was relieved when my guests were slightly delayed so that I would have time to sweep the floor before they arrived.

They brought a number of games with them, so we had an entertaining evening of cards and cocktails and chocolate. We also went on a walk around the neighborhood before the sun went down. In the evening we had a nice (and extremely filling) meal of Indian-style lentils, pasta, and roasted vegetables with fresh herbs from my garden. As the night wore on, I pulled out my Japanese food and put together a mostly typical (except for being vegan) o-sechi plate. Starting at the top, the items are candied dried apricots, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and kombu seaweed, burdock and konnyaku twists, and sweet and sour lotus root, with black soybeans in the center. The sections are garnished with carrot blossoms, snow peas, sliced red hot pepper, and chickpea leaves. Sadly, we were rather too full by that point to eat any of it, so it went back into the refrigerator.

My thoughtful guests washed all the dishes for me while I fussed with the food arranging. I don't think my kitchen has been so clean in weeks. With the assistance of some coffee, we stayed up long enough to watch the countdown, and then we turned in shortly afterward.

We got out of bed at a reasonable hour in the morning, at which point mangaroo joined us for some chatting and more games. We also finally sampled the Japanese food, which wasn't bad. We had more chocolate, too, though I carelessly had it sitting directly in the sun shining in through the living room window, so some of it melted.

I'm glad we had the chance to get together. It was great having the opportunity to see everyone, and I really enjoyed the weekend.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:January 2nd, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
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Spending the day with friends is by far the best way to greet the new year. I appreciated the opportunity to see the gradual changes to your new home and catch up on G-defend, as well. Thank you for the o-sechi (so pretty and tasty!)...and thank you for leaving out the taro!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 3rd, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
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...and thank you for leaving out the taro!

I sure hope it loses its symbolism if you don't eat it on New Year...
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:January 2nd, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
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The sechi is so pretty. Come to my house next year!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 3rd, 2012 12:51 pm (UTC)
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Come to my house next year!

I'm coming in May, does that count?
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:January 3rd, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
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Only if you're bringing me sechi...
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From:manga_crow
Date:January 4th, 2012 07:27 am (UTC)
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You actually stayed up until midnight?!?

Glad to hear that you had a good New Year's Eve though - hope this year goes extremely well for you =)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 6th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC)
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You actually stayed up until midnight?!?

It was rough. Particularly after the rum...and the wine...and the generous grasshopper...we actually gave up on uncorking the champagne because we were all too sleepy.

hope this year goes extremely well for you

Thanks, you too!
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