Happy New Year's!

Tuesday, January 1, 2002
Suburbia, California 

The Hawai` i- California 'Ohana, 2001
with our New Year hats and tiaras.
Good sports, every one of them!
>> Full-sized photo

Bottom Row, L-R: Ethan, the Kiwi going to school in New York, Iain, Orin, Kent with Kyle, Uncle Wally, Jonathan, Aunty Blanche with Freddy B, Uncle Larry
Middle Row, L-R: Cassie from UC Berkeley, Kisa, Aunty Faith (crouching, she not dat shoht), Grandma Y from Honolulu, Dawn, going to school at UH, Manoa, Loreen, Aunty D with O, Aunty Bobbie
Back Row, L-R: Uncle Clif, Uncle T, Aunty Pat from Florida, Sue, Samara, Tiffany, Uncle Kenneth, Aunty Connie, Brian

Aloha e  Hawai`i - California 'Ohana,

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
Shinnen Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!

Perhaps you'd like to relive our New Year's Day with me?  

Be sure to click on the highlighted text to check out the photos.

Uncle T and I started our first day in 2002 with the traditional morning bath. Knowing that this would be a day of hugs, we made sure we were as fresh as daisies not only for the new year, but for you too.  Alas, no relaxing, soaking furo (Japanese bath) for us, but a splashy, hurried shower, so typically American. Cleansed and "purified" with all of last year's not-goods down the drain, we sprang into action, wrapping up our party preparations and putting the finishing touches. 

Our goal was to have everything prepared and ready to go, so we could undistractedly and fully enjoy your company. The Japanese New Year's Symbolic Decorations: Kadomatsu & Kagami ( Stacked Mochi) were in place; the senior citizenry's  All-American New Year's centerpiece in the dining room was arranged; and the light & fluffy Hawaiian cakes from King's Bakery were placed over bowls filled with ice to keep them chilled while we feasted our eyes on them, reminding ourselves to save room for dessert. 

I was cutting the kanten -- Japanese red jello -- into its decorative pointy shapes, while Uncle T was on the road to pick up the sashimi and sushi platters. I was scurrying about in my jammies when Aunty Sue, Samara, Jonathan  and  Aunty Pat -- Aunty Sue's sister, all the way from Florida and looking well -- arrived.  

Jonathan and Samara presented us with fresh flowers, and Sue brought her wonderful potato salad, one of my all-time favorites. 

Tradition, tradition! Tradition!
Tradition, tradition! Tradition!

We had our traditional sake -- Japanese rice wine -- pouring and sipping.  I was especially proud of Samara. A teetotaler, she braved those two sips and full swig for tradition's sake. Sake first thing in the morning is not as bad as it sounds, as sake sinuously slides down the throat, warming the soul.  

Uncle T (DH) then poured each of us a traditional bowl of steaming ozoni -- a New Year's soup made tasty with clam and scallop broth -- with one mochi (rice cake) at the bottom for good luck.  Having consumed all of our soup bowls' contents, we are then, and only then, assured of lots of good luck, strength, longevity, and joy for the year. Alana was in Las Vegas, welcoming the New Year in with her buds, and I wondered if we could freeze some of the good luck soup for her. I also made certain everyone had at least one black bean for good health. 

I am becoming my grandmother!

Aunty Sue, Samara, Jonathan and Aunty Pat were a big help to us with the last-minute details. Jonathan ran last-minute errands with Uncle T; a well-hugged Aunty Pat helped us by cutting out white prayer slips (more on this later); and Aunty Sue and Samara busily prepared Samara's and Jonathan's Chinese chicken salad dressing while I whipped up the somen noodle salad dressing. 

Aunty Sue and Samara taught me how to fry up long rice to top their salad. What a metamorphosis: on contact with hot oil, wiry-stiff bean threads instantly turn into a tangle of white, crispy noodles. It was a riot to watch! 

Uncle Wally, Aunty Liz and their daughter, Dawn, home for the holidays from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, arrived.  We congratulated Dawn, who was recently honored with a Na Koa Award -- and a wooden koa bowl - for being UH football team's manager. Liz, the cooking phenom, brought a platter mounded with pork hash stuffed won ton and a bag of caramel-mochi crunch treats; Wally, his chuckle-inducing good humor; and Dawn, her huge Aloha spirit.  Uncle Wally and Uncle Wayne (Shigs) once worked together, and we met them in 1960 at Alana's 1st birthday party, when we met most of you for the first time.

Clif, BlancheOrinIainGrandma Y from HonoluluCassie with her Kiwi  beau, Ethan, fresh from their holiday trip to Colorado arrived, toting huge platters of savory nishime, a Japanese vegetable dish made out of shiitake mushrooms, carrots, daikon (radish), gobo (burdock), imo (Japanese potato), kombu (seaweed, tied in a knot), takenoko (bamboo shoots), renkon (lotus root) and kamaboko (fish cakes), which is an important part of the osechi-ryoori, the traditional food prepared for the holiday.  I hope Blanche will teach me how to make this tasty dish.  Its preparation is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but oh, so worth it! 

Then, Uncle Kenneth, Aunty Connie and Tiffany, who has blossomed into a willowy beauty, arrived with a tasty bread and melted Brie cheese platter and a basket of crackers with an appetizing shrimp dip.  Connie and Sue have known each other for most of their lives, since junior high and high school in Lakeland, Florida.  They linked up again over 20 years ago when they found themselves together in Southern California, becoming bridge partners and the best of friends with Wayne and Sue. 

Kisa, with a vase of fragrant and beautiful roses -- including the rare blue one -- and calla lillies, and Uncle LeRoy and Aunty Faith arrived with a pan heaped with teriyaki beef and a platter of oranges and kamaboko (fishcakes).  Right behind them were Loreen and Kent with a platter of crab-stuffed won ton and baby Kyle, who, for a baby, travels very light. What?  No, gigantic diaper bag?  No play pen?  

The foyer was beginning to take on its characteristic Hawai`i appearance when we all get together: What's the giveaway that these are folks with Hawai`i roots?

Last but not least to arrive were Uncle Larry and Aunty Bobbie with teriyaki beef-vegetable remoulades and mild and spicy kinpira (shredded gobo - burdock root that symbolizes energy) and Brian with an ice chest filled with fresh oysters and Absolut vodka. 

O & Freddy B ran back and forth through the doggie door, raspily greeting each of you before they finally decided to be a part of the festivities, especially when they discovered that some of you are food-droppers.

We were so pleased to have all of you over, and that you embraced the spirit of the day -- and the new year - with us by heartily celebrating the New Year as a whole family with lots of fellowship, lightheartedness and camaraderie,  and tons of food:  New Year's Spread - Serious Island Grinds.

Thanks to the puzzlers for finishing up the bear puzzle.  Wow, that wasn't as easy as it looked.  Like us, those bears all look alike. <wink> 

Congratulations to the Cranium game winners:  Samara, Jonathan, Aunty Faith, and Iain.  Please call us when you are in town to use your L&L gift certificates.  We'll walk over and meet you there for some chicken katsu. 'Ono, you know.

We thank you for all the food -- and the leftovers.  I think none of us will be cooking for the next few days. 

Until next time, may the mochi stick to the roof of your mouth, sit heavily at the bottom of your stomach, and its symbolic round circle remain in your consciousness throughout the year.  

May you keep returning to where you, your family, and your ancestors come from, be it by tradition, thought, or  actually flying home to Hawai`i.  

May the moon and sun, represented by the two stacked mochi, remind you to think of life as a series of interrelated circles, especially the 'ohana (family) circle that gathers in, supports, nurtures, and prays together. 

May you vividly remember our prayer circle on this, the first day of 2002, when together we sent up our prayers in support of each other's most desired accomplishments.  

May you keep sending your prayers upward throughout the year.

Be sure to click on tomorrow's journal entry to see the declared and desired accomplishments that will be completed by 2003, with all of our help.  

And last but not least, here's another way to view the New Year's Day photos, all at once, or individually.  Enjoy!

Photo Album I:  New Year's Day, 2002 
Hawai`i - California 'Ohana Greets In the New Year, Island-Style

Individual photos:

Photo Album II:  More New Year's Day, 2002 Photos

Individual photos:

Additions from Aunty Bobbie (Mahalo!):



"Life is a Gift."

Wishing you a bright new day and year, 

Aunty D

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2002