Friday, 11 January 2013

Day 26: Kohakusen...New Year's and the 'red and white' song contest

Day 26 (31 Dec) So New Year's Eve here in Tokyo. While Christmas is a consumer-driven event, the first few days of the Japanese new year are most significant. Theoretically, people spend their time cleaning (out the dust of the old year, before the new year begins) and cooking (so no cooking is required over the next few days). 

The photos taken on 29 Dec,
at 6.12am on 31 Dec. 
At 6.12am, I was up and reviewing my photos from the past few days. Some were better than I thought, others were a little disappointing. Ah, such is the photographer's life. 

Osetchi ryoori is the name given to the particular feast and different households treat the celebrations with different degrees of reverence. In our household, it was a matter of picking up some pre-ordered food from our local favourite restaurant. Quite something to look forward to. Lots of other fine traditions as well at this time. People will traditionally make their first visit to a temple tonight or tomorrow; television news programs run through the reviews of the year that has been; some will eat 'toshi-koshi soba', noodles you eat as the clock ticks over at 12 midnight; etc. 

A bit less traditional at our place. We were heading down to the restaurant for dinner, and pickup tomorrow's feast. I was pretty determined to watch another fine New Year's tradition, the NHK Kohakusen--the red and white song contest...the popular singers and groups of the year come together, divided by gender into the red or white team (males v females) with the winner to be determined by the audience. It's been going for over 60 years and its always a good way to catch up on the pop culture zeitgeist. Sad to report there is a rather bland homogenisation of song and dance groups among a certain age cohort these days. 

Just before we went out to dinner, at 6.12pm, I was watching one of the news review shows, quite clearly seeking to show the 'happy news' stories of the year. 

And with that, it was off to dinner and back later for the Kohakusen and greet a new year...which I did on behalf of daylight saving time at 10.00pm Tokyo time, for Brisbane at 11.00 pm and in Tokyo at midnight. 

The white team, the blokes, won, by the way. And now to bring on 2013, 'hebi-doshi' the year of the snake...

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