“我が恋は 人とる沼の 花あやめ” “Wa-ga-ko-i-wa/ Hi-to-to-ru-nu-ma-no/ Ha-na-a-ya-me” It was a haiku, sung by Izumi Kyoka(1873 to 1939). It means “My love is like an iris/ blooming in the mud/ to kill my life.” Haiku(俳句) is a style of very short poem in Japan. Most of traditional ones describe nature, which not only tell the scenery but suggest the emotional and impressive message of the author. They are simple, but full of humanity.
New Year is a traditonal ceremony for Japanese to welcome the God of New Year, called“toshigami-sama(年神様)." To welcome the God with relaxed and quiet atmosphere, we try to avoid much cooking at that period. For that purpose, “Osechi-ryouri”(おせち料理), the traditional dishes of New Year are prepared before New Year’s Day. They’re so good keeping quality that can be eaten from January 1st to 3rd. Each dish has auspicious meaning which reflects people’s wishes. Kuromame(黒豆): black beans gently boiled with sugar. Kuromame means working hard and keeping healthy. Datemaki(錦玉子);rolled egg in white and yellow marble pattern. The yellow represents for gold, the white for silver, which are both auspicious. Kamaboko（かまぼこ）: Japanese style fish sausage colored in red and white. The red means amulet. The white means purity. Kobumaki(昆布巻): cooked rolled seaweed. “kobu”(=seaweed) is the same pronunciation of a part of the word “Yorokobu”(=celebrate, delight) Kurikinton(栗金団): sweet chestnuts, the shinny yellow color makes us image of making fortune. Tazukuri(田作り): dried sardines, in hope of good harvest. In edo period, sardines were used for high rank fertilizer. Kazunoko(数の子):salted herring roe, which is fertility symbol Goboumaki (牛蒡巻)：cooked burdock root rolled with beef, in hope of our stable life as burdock take its roots firmly on earth. Ko-haku-namasu(紅白なます): pickles of sliced radish and carrot, whose shape shows Japanese style ornament, representing auspicious Renkon(蓮根): boiled lotus roots, whose holes represents foresight. Satoimo(里芋): boiled aroid. Aroid produces many fruits, which has the image of fertility. Others are burdock, carrot, and mushrom.
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