Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Kochi’s New Year’s Dishes

The Basic Rules of New Year’s Dishes (Osechi and Zouni)
   Osechi, traditional Japanese New Year’s dishes are made using auspicious ingredients and cooking methods, in the hope of bringing health and prosperity in the new year. For example, burdock plants are used because they have deep roots, symbolizing continued prosperity for each generation of the family. A classic New Year’s meal would be a combination of osechi and zouni, a soup containing mochi rice cakes. Zouni’s ingredients and seasoning differ greatly between region and household.
Ms. Takahashi and her wonderful smile

We watched Shimenawa being made!

   In Japan, Shimenawa is used to decorate the gates at shrine entrances, torii gates, and entrances of homes when New Years rolls around. The word Shimenawa comes from the word “Shimeru,” which means “to possess or occupy.” A Shimenawa is the boundary between the domain that the gods occupy and this world. A Shimenawa represents the wish to not let evil inside.

   We visited Mr. Mizuta’s residence, in Ino Town, where they make Shimenawa, and the straw was piled up high! They were working silently among the piles of straw. They are inundated with orders from shrines outside of the prefecture, and during December they are extremely busy as they prepare to deliver their products.
The Mizuta family

Would you like to experience Hatsumoude at Chikurinji?

The stone steps of Chikurinji
   Paying a visit to a shrine or temple after the new year is called Hatsumoude. The reason for a Hatsumoude is to express gratitude for the previous year, and to pray that the upcoming year will be a good one. So what exactly happens at a Hatsumoude?

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A : Let’s request books in our native tongue at the Otepia library!

Writer: Kochi Prefectural Office, Coordinator for International Relations, Han Jeonggyu

   Hi. I am Han. Having spent a long time in Japan, away from my home country, I sometimes find myself missing Korea. At times like this, I head to Otepia Kochi Library. There are many books of various languages at Otepia, and I take comfort in the Korean books. However, what happens when they don’t have the books I want? One can request, for free, that Otepia import specific books from overseas.

   To request books, you will need a “Joint Library Card” (Otepia’s standard library card). You can make one at the library for free. Just bring along something that can verify your identity, like your residence card. Once you have your Joint Library Card, you can request books using the application form, or through the library’s website. The application form is available at the service counters in Otepia and other branch libraries. To request a book through the website, use the form titled “お問い合わせ入力フォーム” ( Ensure that you write your book’s title, author, publisher and the year it was published. That’s all! All of this information should be written in the language the requested book is published in. If there is a Japanese translation available, please provide its title as a reference as well. In addition, providing the book’s ISBN will help your request be processed even more smoothly.*

   If you miss your home country, why not warm up your heart with a book in your mother tongue?

   * However, even if you make a request, there are times when the library cannot import your books.