Ringing in the New Year with Tradition & Fusion

Last yoga class this year was the unexpected Vinyasa/Hatha Flow subbing at a local club.  Glad to be of service to close the year; now onto the tasks of service for the family and friends – it’s New Year’s Eve tradition fusing the old with the new.

Toshikoshi Soba (Ringing in the New Year Buckwheat noodles) was pre-ordered as they are limited hand-crafted by a local chef. Tempura is homemade, an assortment made to Vegetarian and Pescatarian tastes … It’s a tradition to eat the soba at midnight at the dawn of New Year …Eating of Soba at start of the year is supposed to bring about prosperity and longevity while letting go the past year’s regrets, so we all eagerly dipped and slurped in this perfectly al-dente noodles.

Preparations – Soaked Red Azuki Beans overnight … To simmer the soaked red beans with yes, you see the orange peel and lotus seeds … to make Oshiruko or sweet red bean soup for the auspicious occasion. Forgoing processed sugar in sweetening the soup by using stewed dates …

Meanwhile the American sect of the family baked POPOVERS !

While Daikon radishes for savory Oden is prepared in Umami rich broth:)

Last 2-3 years, realizing that I had been in Japan for New Year’s but this year, here in California, did not prepare or purchase Osechi (elaborate traditional Japanese New Year feast that came about so that the women of the household can be relieved from having to cook for 3 days so that they can start out the new year, well rested !) My grandmother used to make each dish, probably spending 3-5 full days working up to New Year’s Day.  Sorry, this is modern American Japanese-ish New Year celebration. Thank you for the Sweetened Black Beans – “Kuromame” made by a dear friend who makes a whole pot and shares to spread the good luck around.  Black beans is said to bring you health and vitality so that you can work for success.  Thank you K:)

Happy New Year !

Christmas Spent @ICU

Christmas supper was cancelled when the host had to be rushed to the local hospital ICU for blood transfusions and series of tests and to be monitored.

Christmas tree from Tahoe in the courtyard …

In the small waiting room was a tired looking mom and a young boy maybe 8 years old … she mentioned that she’s been coming for three days now.  We didn’t ask questions but shared an empathetic nod. So when you are in the waiting room of ICU, these are the kind of literature  we see available – brochures on various Spirituality & Self-Help but what caught my eyes was this brochure called “Finding a Way to Forgive”.  I wondered why that was there.  And I knew. Why.

It’s a reminder that life is short and we need to really take care of our relationships – relationship with our own selves and others so that we are unencumbered and content. No worries our Christmas host, after spending 4 days in ICU is fine now at home and we had our Christmas dinner Sunday night instead of Wednesday.

The unexpected gift of the actual Christmas Day was the message: that we … don’t take things or people for granted; What needs fixing and repairing – don’t wait, repair them, and I’m talking relationships; and that we relish each breath, waste little time and energy on the unimportant stuff – by living in the present moment; with gratitude.  And that requires a discipline of SELF-CARE and tools and techniques for that practice besides the will to.  The will alone will not be enough – the will, the tools, the techniques and … self-knowledge and wisdom to look deep deep within.

As the Christmas supper was scheduled for mid-day, we were a bit hungry after getting out from the hospital in the evening.  We did not feel like being guests to an empty home while the host lies alone at an ICU bed so  … we went to the only restaurant open locally in this part of town not too familiar to us – of course, it’s Chinese restaurant recommended by that mom with a little boy in the waiting room – she would know we figured.  We were grateful that there are fine professionals working on Christmas day.  The ICU staff was compassionate and probably short-staffed but doing their best … Chinese food after hours of waiting was … so good. Gratitude that I was not alone; but with my tribe. Gratitude. Gratitude all Around.

It’s “Super K” brand fortune cookie … even here away from home.


Amit Ray quote for the week

“Yoga talks about cat-pose, dog-pose, camel-pose, monkey-pose, bird-pose etc. Why there are so many animal poses?


Animals release their emotions and tensions by movements based on their body sensations. But our amygdala in the brain is carrying the “fight or flight response”; it has forgotten the art of releasing the tensions.


As human beings, when we are aware about the sensations, we can release that by aware, slow movements. If you do not give movements to the body parts, energy will be stuck and blood circulation will be disturbed. Gradually, that creates chronic physical and mental health problems.”


― Amit Ray, from Yoga & Vipassana,

An Integrated Life Style

  • BTW, in addition to “fight or flight response”, there’s a response called “freeze”. In each case, the protocol is a little varied and different.

Just dangling for fun:) Fun subbing for Maria – when a student overcame her fear to let go, so gratifying.