And So It Begins…2011

New Year's Countdown Party 2010

It’s a New Year and a fresh start. I hope everyone is enjoying time with their families and thinking about the good things the New Year has in store. As for me, I am thinking about all of the changes that will happen very soon (as I mentioned before…new place, new job) and how to make this year better than the last.

I spent my early hours of New Year’s Day with a karate training family and his family here in Tsukuba and had a chance to meet some really nice people, and practice my Japanese. The party was great because there were families there with their children (from toddlers to teenagers) so it wasn’t people were drinking but not getting drunk…it was really comfortable. I really wanted to watch the New Year’s Eve K-1 Dynamite fights, or the Downtown Batsu Game (Don’t Laugh in Spy School), but unfortunately, everyone wanted to watch Kohaku. If you haven’t heard of Kohaku, it’s arguably the most watched show on New Year’s Eve, and it’s all about singing and music. You hear songs from popular bands, enka music (traditional Japanese songs), and more. This show has been running for 61 consecutive years, and has a huge audience on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day. Anyhow, the TV show was a minor thing, I just had fun being around other people, trying to work on my Japanese, seeing how beautiful the mixed Japanese/foreign children were, eating good food, laughing, and being happy.

When I ask other people here what they did for New Year’s, they often say that they went to shrine or spent time with family. It’s a common Japanese custom to visit a shrine on new years day to pray for a good year. Though I have never done that, one of these days I will. In the US, on the other hand, New Year’s is a time to party, and go out with friends (for some), watch the MTV countdown for others, or even go to church. But I guess the New Year’s plan can often depend on where you’re from, you’re upbringing (I was always in church for New Year’s…not anymore, though), and your personality. The early hours of 2011 were so quiet here in Tsukuba; there was no traffic, I didn’t hear any fireworks…just silence.

How about you? How did you celebrate your New Year’s Day?

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Everybody!!

Donald Ash

P.S.-Here are a few photos from the party

Photos from the New Year’s Party

New Year's Soba!!


The New Year's food was delicious


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