Happy New Year 2024! Do you have ways you always honor the new year? This year, despite the news for months that officials were going to crack down on illegal fireworks, we seemed to have more nearby neighbors with illegal fireworks than ever. For days prior, New Year’s Eve, and today, New Year’s, there have been scary booms all around us. Our cat keeps hustling away in slinking form, tail down, into her various bomb shelters (somewhere in closets).
As with all my remembered years, except maybe one or two, my first meal of the year on January 1 morning is mochi soup, ozoni. I served it to our two guests this morning, their first time trying mochi soup. Our good mutual friend tried it decades ago. At that time he said the mochi are like glue balls, and he felt like he was choking. Not a ringing endorsement.
This year’s mochi were very special. My good friend made them for us and hand delivered them in late October! They’ve been in our freezer since then in these beautiful packages. We have been so fortunate to receive them for many years from her. But once she began mailing them, we’ve had bad luck. This October, she and her sister made ten pounds of rice, and I think we received almost all of that batch. Some of that mochi went from Northern California to Kona, back to Southern California when we visited my mom at Thanksgiving. I’ve traveled by plane with mochi a few times. The TSA employees aren’t even fazed when they see the frozen blobs and you tell them they’re mochi. They just wave you through.
The Daifukuji Taiko mini concert on Saturday was so good! It was exciting, fun, and uplifting. I knew I’d enjoy it, and I felt even more uplifted than I expected. It’s fantastic to see a whole concert of their pieces versus just a few at various community events. And there were alumni from various years back who’ve continued to hone their craft. I didn’t know Sensei Kristi Oshiro, but she was awesome to watch. And I was so impressed with the physicality, energy, and synchrony of the group. I’m a novice and not educated in the art, but I enjoy trying to glean what makes some performers stand out. Here’s a little mini video snippet. Enjoy!