Japanese-American New Years

母の家族は曽祖父が伝統を始めた頃から大きいお正月パーティーを行なっています。私の曽祖父はヤマトトラベルの創設者として、一年に一回家族全員と誘われた友達が集まって、人数が多ければ多いほどビジネスを繁盛させると信じていました。家族は一般的な日本のお正月の伝統に従わないんですが、自分の特別な日系アメリカ人の伝統を始めて、今日はそのお正月の伝統について書きたいと思っています。My mom’s side of the family has been putting on their big New Years party since my great-grandpa started the tradition. He was the founder of Yamato Travel Bureau and believed that it was important for the whole family to get together and invite a lot of people, as more people meant more prosperity for the business. Our family doesn’t follow a lot of the traditional Japanese New Years traditions, but we started our own unique Japanese-American ones that I will write about here.

お正月の一番大切なものは食べ物です。パーティーはポットラックなのに、みんなが普通どおりに料理している食べ物を勝手に持ってこようという感じがあります。祖母は兄妹が9人の中で長姉なので、女家長として多くの伝統的な料理を作っていました。現在あまり料理していないため、母が作っていますが、いつか私は自分で料理の作り方を習わなければならないと思います。The most important thing is the food. Our party is potluck style, but there is always this underlying notion that everyone will bring the usual things. Since my grandma is the oldest sibling out of the nine siblings, she is kind of the “matriarch” of the family and has thus cooked most of the traditional dishes. Now that she doesn’t cook too much, my mom has been doing most of the cooking. I try to help, but someday I will have to learn how to cook the food myself.

こちらは今年のテーブルです!毎年いつも素晴らしいですね。過去年前の写真もアップします。Here is the this year’s food table! It is always an impressive sight. I will also post pictures form previous years.

2017

2010

2016

一番文化的な料理は煮しめです。普通に全てのものを一緒に料理するはずなんですが、一つ一つの味が少し違って、別々にします。そして、フットポールのように見えるいなりずし、さしみ、かまぼことオレンジ、きんぴらごぼう、テリヤキチキン、ほうれん草白和え等が毎年あります。The most traditional food dish is the nishime. Usually you cook it all together but we do it separately because each item is supposed to have a slightly different taste. Then there’s the inarizushi (aka. “footballs”), sashimikamaboko (kind of like a fish cake) with oranges, kinpira gobo (burdock root), teriyaki chicken, spinach shira ae, etc. that is usually present every year.

Teriyaki Chicken

I made the sashimi in the middle look like a rose!

Nishime

Inarizushi (“footballs”)

Kamaboko and Oranges

もう一つの伝統は写真を撮ることです。若いいとこたちがいつも文句を言うんだけど、長年の写真を見てみんながどう変わっていくか見ることもよかったと思います。撮る方法は正確で、毎年同じ写真を撮ります。例えば、友達含めグループ、姻族、祖母の妹たち、いとことの家族、女子、別々の家族などというグループ写真を撮ります。こちらは私の拡大家族のある写真です!Another tradition is taking photos. Usually the younger cousins always dread this, but it is nice to look back and see how everyone has changed over the years. Photos are very planned and every year we take the same exact photos: group photo with everyone (including friends), “outlaws” (all the inlaws), the sisters/elders, cousins and their families, girls, and individual families. Here is some of our extended family photos.

I hand-placed each sequin on that sign…

One where everyone is here!

Going through the phase where I desperately wanted brown hair like all the other cool Japanese girls.

全ての写真には年度のサインがあります。前に母が作っていましたけれど、最近私は作り始めました。ある年のサインはちょっと変でしょう…In each photo we have the sign that says what year it is. My mom has always created it, but in recent years I have done it. Some years the signs look ridiculous..

近年はファミリーとして楽しいゲームをし始めました。なぜそんなゲームが本当に大好きか分からないんですが、いつも楽しみにしています。一つのゲームは、二つのチームに分け、チームの歌を作って、ポイントを取るために色々なゲームをすることです。ある可笑しいゲームは、変な日本語の名字が書いてある紙をもらい、他の家族の一員を探すために名字を叫ぶことです。楽しいですよ!Recently we have started playing family games, which is always my favorite. I’m not sure why I like group games so much, but I always look forward to it. A common game we play is where we split up into two teams, make a team cheer, and then do a series of games to earn points for our team. A funny one is where we are given a piece of paper with a weird Japanese name on it and we have to “find our family” by yelling out our family name and finding the other members.

以上で、家族の日系アメリカ人のお正月の伝統です。毎年大好きな家族と美味しい食べ物を楽しみにしていますので、来年も素晴らしいです!I think those are all the main family traditions we do on New Years. I look forward to the food and family every year so next year’s is sure to be great as well!

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2 thoughts on “Japanese-American New Years

  1. Wonderful post. I’m yonsei and the only Japanese tradition we celebrate is New Year’s also. We also do potluck and eat the traditional Japanese foods. We look forward to ozoni and mochi! It’s one of the best family times for us during the year. I’m glad you celebrate it also!

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