America is used to hearing about the Lunar New Year which the Chinese and several other East Asian cultures celebrate. However, the Japanese New Year celebration happens on the Roman calendar New Year (the calendar the world operates on). Like all great celebrations from all the different cultures in the world, this one focuses on food. Lots and lots of food.
My grandma has been hosting the New Year's feast for decades before I was born and she continues to this day. She is an incredible 93 and a half year old who is able to outlast and out-cook the entire family. In recent years, the cooking tradition has brought the grandkids into the kitchen. I've come to really look forward to having my grandmother teach me how to prepare sushi, and to show her I still remember how to do what I learned the year before.
This year the family helped her make Tekamaki (Tuna Roll), Wantons, Spam Musubi (The Japanese LOVE spam...), panko chicken, and more!
For my family, the best part of the day is simply hanging out with my grandma and my uncle. Generations have grown up hanging out in the kitchen and eating food that blows any restaurant out of the water. Learning from the master, and having her approval is something I cherish.