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Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

I have never made a New Year’s Resolutions.  I figure, if I cannot get myself to do “whatever it is” during the year, then I am not going to follow through just because it is January 1st.  I have not even gone to a New Years Eve party in many years and I rather miss doing so. 

One of my grand nephews posted his New Year’s resolutions the other day and it made me wonder about New Year’s traditions.  Like most research, you never learn just one thing, when you start digging. 

Did you know?:

That, Auld Lang Syne is actually a Scottish song and is totally unreadable in English for me.  I really like Hamish Macbeth and Bagpipes and the landscape of Scotland and the lilt in their speech.  I just cannot always understand it.  Thanks to poet, Robert Burns, who wrote it, and Guy Lombardo, who first played it in 1929, we have a tradition that makes us feel, on January 1st, like we are part of something greater, as people all over  (okay, in your time zone anyway) sing the same song, at the same time, just with the wrong lyrics.  Sort of like our National Anthem, eh?  Check the link at the bottom of this post to view the proper lyrics.

That, Scotland is also the birthplace of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY).  This is a “rousing” Scottish tradition of “first-footing.”  Okay, when did the Scottish ever do anything that was n0t rousing?  That is why I love them so.  “First-footing” is when neighbors visit each other for New Year’s wishes.  They bring a gift of coal for the fire (which would be really welcome this year) and shortbread (which, I have had honest-to-goodness Scottish Shortbread and it is good).  It is sort of like our bottle of booze and cookies, which would be equally welcome.  The part I like is that it is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark and handsome man is the first person to enter your house after the New Year is rung.  Hmmmm, Viggo Mortensen, I will be waiting.  (HAH!  Betcha thought I could not figure a way to get him in for New Years?)

 On to Japan: As a symbol of renewal, New Years is a very important holidame to bid farewell to the problems of the past and prepare for a new beginning, and houses are scrubbed, with this in mind.  For several years now, I have said to myself “Whew! That year is done.  It’s gotta get better, next year.”  Now, I know where my problem lies.  This New Year’s day will find me elbow deep in soapy water.  I am working on a good new year.

Then, in Spain, they eat twelve grapes at midnight.  This secures twelve happy months.  So, I will be scrubbing with grapes in my mouth. 

In my Ancestral homeland of the Netherlands, at least the Dutch part, they burn their Christmas trees and shoots off fireworks to purge the old and welcome the new.  Since husband is allergic to what they put on fir trees, I have a plastic one.  Oh, the shame and totally non-burnable, so can I just burn the wood that is down from the tornado?  I am hedging all bets here.

So, this year, as the New Year ball drops in Times square and millions of people in fancy clothing gather to swill their favorite drink , eat cookies, and sing Auld Lang Syne , I shall be down on my knees scrubbing the house and eating grapes and blacked eyed peas.  This is a traditional southern dish and ensures I will have plenty of everything the rest of the new year.

And, what about my New Year’s Resolutions?  Those items the Babylonians are believed to have first made and broken? 

If we just work at:

  • treating each other with respect
  • treating our world with respect
  • and treating ourselves with respect

How can we lose?

It’s the first time I have used infoplease New Year’s Traditions  check it out.

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When I was a girl, and boy am I dating myself here, you could take an auto trip across America and eat your way across this country, trying foods that were new to your palate and never eating fast food.  There were grits in the south and vinegar on fries in Canada. The architecture was not all the same; as my neighbors pointed out to the rest of our rural block when they came home from California and painted their home a “California lavendar color.” It was shocking, in a block of white and tan homes.

 

Now, we travel and it’s the same choice in every town, TGIF or McDonald’s and Arby’s.  Regional flavors and differences are disappearing and not just in food either.  Wide Awake in Wonderlands is on a backpacking/hostel tour of Europe. She is reliving her “after school” type tour and finding the same thing in Europe.  Where hundred year old buildings house designer label stores. 

 

Before the rest of the world becomes too homogenized, with McDonalds popping up in the Colliseum and Western clothing the norm:  I would love to take pictures of:

 

The architecture of India as a backdrop of the electric color of Saris and food of India

 

Dusty African planes and the smiles of their people.

 

Architecture in Japan and the beauty of simplicity their culture respects

 

The Outback in Australia and the life of the fires of the Aboriginal people

 

Markets of spices and vegetables everywhere

 

In the meantime, I will travel with Wide Awake in Wonderland and Anthony Bourdain and today, I am off to the wilds of Tennessee, to visit relatives and where the only thing exotic that I have experienced in other visits is the southern accent of my cousin who was born and raised in Indiana.

 

OPPS!! Trip just cancelled because of Ike.  Apparently roads into Tennessee are being closed.  Hmmm! Does that keep the rain out?

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