Moon rising on New Year’s Eve – a rare full moon on New Year’s day.
We celebrated New Year’s Eve at a friend’s house, where part of the dinner was osechi-ryouri, a traditional Japanese New Year meal. New Year’s is the most important holiday in Japan and most stores were closed for several days (before the combini-era). To avoid cooking on those days, the traditional meal consisted of preserved foods. Each item has a symbolic meaning tied to good health, prosperity, and long life. For example, kuro-mame (black soybean) where “mame”, which means bean, is also phonetically the same as diligent/hard working.
Not all items in the traditional osechi-ryori are to my taste. I’m not alone. Recently more creative types of osechi-ryouri are becoming available such as Italian (prosciutto, olives, pasta, clams), Chinese, and French-Western style (roast beef, escargot, smoked salmon).