Hope you all had a great holiday and the start of the new year 2017. We celebrated the new year's day over these delightful little treats called wagashi, which was very special. Wagashi is translated as Japanese confectionary. It is the traditional sweets and usually served with mattcha tea at Japanese tea ceremonies. It is not a typical new year's food to eat, but I happened to find some when we visited Tsubaki Shrine, a Japanese Shintou Shrine in Granite Falls, Washington, about an hour drive north from Seattle. These wagashi sweets are from Tokara located in Phinney neighborhood in Seattle. This truly makes me feel like we have everything here.
They are so delicate and light. It's mostly made of azuki beans, white beans and sugar. These confectionaries are dairy free or vegan as many of traditional Japanese foods tend to be. Wagashi isn't usually something people make at home in Japan, just like nigiri sushi. People in Japan buy them from the specialists. I can see the deep thoughts, care and passion put into these wagashi and we all appreciated every bite of it. I made some tea grown near my hometown that my mom sent us. We had our little tea party and it was so perfect and so peaceful.
Speaking of tea ceremony, I've never gotten into it before. But it is a nice thought to have a Japanese style tea party rather than ceremony at home once in a while and meditate. We all need to calm the heck down over a nice cup of tea with a mesmerizing piece of confectionary I say.
The New Year's Days are probably the biggest holiday in Japan. There are rituals and traditions that most people still follow which might not be the cases anymore for many other traditional holidays. It's a big deal. People go to shrines around midnight and eat traditional new year's food called Osechi. If you are planning on visiting Japan, I recommend around the New Year's. It is something very interesting to experience if you are more interested in tradition side of Japanese culture.
Here are some the photos from the snowy dreamy first day of 2017. Wishing you all the rocking happy new year no matter what obstacles might come on our way!!
We are lucky to live relatively close to the actual Shrine and share my culture my kids. We don't go there every year, but this year I felt like it's a good thing to do.
Wishing you all a smashing new year and hope for the best no matter how shitty things might seem at times!