Friday, 25 March 2016

My Japan Trip 2015/2016: Day 3 - New Year's Day, Osechi Ryori, Laforet Sales and Ginza

My Japan Trip Day #3

So, today was New Year's Day in Japan, 1st January 2016!

In Japan, they have a traditional breakfast eaten on New Year's Day called 'osechi ryori', which literally means New Year's Day cooking. There are lots of little dishes of food,  all of them signifying something for the new year. I was super grateful to be able to experience a traditional Japanese New Year's breakfast and day! There were many things I didn't know about or had never tried so I decided to eat first and ask questions later haha!

Japanese New Year breakfast, osechi ryori
Osechi ryori! I was interested to find out what everything was, so with a little extra Googling when I got back home, I was able to find the names of most items. If you can identify anything I haven't, that would be amazingly helpful!

Left box, left to right:
Steamed or boiled kabocha (pumpkin) or sweet potato, I'm not quite sure.
Kuromame (black beans) cooked in sweet syrup with edible gold leaf. It symbolizes hard working and healthy living for the next year.
I'm not quite sure on this one, I think it was maybe some form of artichoke?
Harusame salad.
Ikura (salmon roe/eggs). Red is an auspicious colour and the eggs symbolise fertility.
Edamame salad.
Candied walnuts.
Kuri kinton, a paste made from sweet chestnuts and sweet potatoes. 'Kin' means 'gold' and that kanji character is used in 'kuri kinton' so it symbolises a prosperous business or luck with money that year.
Namasu, a salad of carrot and daikon radish. Red and white are colours of celebration in Japan and symbolises happiness and celebration.

Centre box, left to right:
Some form of sushi, I'm not sure.
I think it was some form of chicken with vegetables in the middle.
Again, I can't remember!
Tataki goubo, pounded burdock root with sesame seeds. Burdock is a long, deep root so it symbolises stability, and splitting it (tataki) symbolises splitting good fortune.
Sweet potatoes and ebi (shrimp). The curved shape of shrimp looks like the curved back of the elderly, symbolising longevity and a wish for a long life.
Tazukuri, dried sardines cooking in a sweet soy sauce. 'Tazukuri' means 'making a rice field' and signifies hope for an abundant harvest in the new year.
Sweet potatoes cut into a shape, I can't remember much else.
Torihamu, a type of chicken ham.
Datemaki, a rolled egg and fish cake that slightly resembles rolled scrolls, so symbolises a wish for success whilst studying.
Konbu maki, thick seaweed usually tied in a bundle. Like datemaki, it symbolises a wish for successful studying.

Right box, left to right:
I'm not sure of what the entire first row is, unfortunately! I just remember the item on the right was very slippery and rounded/oval shaped.
Soramame, boiled broad beans.
Kazunoko, salted herring roe marinated in dashi. One lump of roe is many tiny eggs pressed together and so it symbolises many children and a prosperous family.
Kouhaku maki, an egg maki roll tied up with fish cake.
Braised tako (octopus).
I'm not sure what the last item is.

Underneath the osechi ryori is a bowl of matcha green tea, and ozoni, a type of soup with a piece of mochi (sticky rice cake) in it. There are many variations of ozoni, this one had tofu and daikon radish in it.

Japanese New Year breakfast, osechi ryori and ozoni soup
Ozoni soup

Japanese New Year breakfast, sake
This was sake that we drank afterwards. You lift the sake cup and drink three times. I think it's a form of the custom 'o-toso', where you drink to flush away the previous year's ailments and maladies. Tradition uses spiced sake with medicinal herbs but this was just regular sake. Spiced sake is still used in some Kansai and west regions of Japan though.

After we ate breakfast, I then met up with my friend Amelie and her friend Katie. We happened to be in Japan at the same time so we decided to meet for New Year sales at Laforet in Harajuku!

We went down a side street on Takeshita Dori and found CONOMi, a popular school uniform shop for fashionable schoolgirls.
CONOMi Harajuku

We went through Takeshita Dori to try and find Fernopaa, a store Amelie wanted to visit. I hadn't heard of it but I tried to find it on my phone but it took us down a street that Fernopaa clearly wasn't on, so we gave up. I wanted to see if Closet Child had any New Year sales but I wasn't sure if it was open. The atmosphere of New Year's sales is really great - some people have expressed that it's annoying but I enjoy it! Many stores on Takeshite Dori had shop staff outside, shouting out their sales and fukubukuro (lucky pack) offers, announcing time sales and generally trying to attract you into their store. They sometimes had plastic microphones and would bang on them before spewing their sales pitch again, repeating and repeating all day! Some cute shop girls were doing that but one of their voices started getting hoarse and they were laughing about it. #justfukubukurothings

We then went to Laforet to check out the sales and to see if there were any fukubukuro left. I didn't take any photos unfortunately because you're not really supposed to, and it was very busy. A lot of stores did have lucky packs left; from what I can remember, Ghost of Harlem, BTSSB, Metamorphose, Innocent World, Swimmer, Putumayo and Axes Femme still had lucky packs when we arrived a few hours after opening. Again, there were lots of shop staff shouting out offers and holding up fukubukuro, banging and generally a festive "we're all here for bitchin' sales" vibe was around.

I had a browse around Putumayo because they had a stained glass print that caught my eye. They did it in a JSK or skirt but I am always funny about buying skirts unless they're much cheaper than the JSK, and I was unsure about the full shirring on the bodice of the JSK.

Putumayo stained glass OP

After debating coming back for the JSK or skirt, I saw a cute skirt and matching jacket that I bought there and then. Somehow when photographing the items separately I didn't photograph the jacket (probably because I took it to an event to wear shortly after returning from Japan) so have my badly lit, 'on the day' haul photo of the set!

Putumayo jacket and skirt set
They're really nice for a casual coord and they're very easy and comfy to wear.

We had a bit more of a browse but that was it for my Laforet New Year sales, at least that day anyway! I love shopping with friends but I really want to try everything on before I buy so I decided to come back at a later date. Anything I had my eye on that wasn't there later would be considered 'not meant to be'.

Afterwards we went to Listen Flavor and I bought a super cute beret!

Listen Flavor occult beret
Sooooo cute~

They also had lucky packs but I decided not to get one since there was only one or two things I liked in the store. I realised before I even got to Japan that it was unlikely I'd buy any lucky packs. I'm far too picky and specific in my personal tastes. Katie and Amelie bought Listen Flavor lucky packs and when they opened them, they were mostly t-shirts and sweaters, none of which I wear.

Harajuku New Year fukubukuro lucky packs
By this point we were getting pretty laden with bags! Katie and Amelie bought Ghost of Harlem lucky packs in Laforet. Amelie opened hers and from what I can remember, it had a hoodie, sweater, t-shirts and a pair of leggings. Again, I wear none of those so it'd have been a big fail if I'd have bought one. I only like certain tops and most of the dresses in Ghost of Harlem.

During the day we needed to find somewhere to eat and went to the Pom Pom Purin Cafe in Harajuku but it was queuing out of the door and we were quite hungry. Thankfully Ojisan no Panda Cafe is literally right opposite Pom Pom Purin and had no line so we went there instead! I feel sorry for Ojipan, why don't people like his cafe haha?

Ojisan no Panda cafe - Omura inu pancakes
I knew I wouldn't be able to eat much so I got Omura-inu (omelette dog) pancakes. They were super yummy though so no regrets! The pancakes were warm, soft and fluffy, the omura-inu cream was sweet and the pancakes, fruit and cream all went together nicely. They even had an Ojipan biscuit which was nice too!

Afterwards Amelie and Katie and I decided to part ways. As we walked through Takeshita Dori, I noticed Closet Child was open and I intended to check out the salesssss~ Amelie and Katie had to be up early the next day so I decided to go to Ginza for a wander around. I thought some of the big department stores would be open.

Ginza Year of the Monkey shop display
One of the first sights that greeted me after getting out of Ginza station, a shop display for the year of the monkey this year!

Ginza Wako
Ginza Wako, a very memorable department store with a large clock made by Seiko. It was closed...

Ginza at New Year

I didn't think I would see many Christmas decorations since New Year is way more important in Japan; Christmas decorations get taken down pretty much the day after Christmas but I was pleased to see pretty Christmas trees lining streets in Ginza!

Matsuya Ginza
Matsuya Ginza, a huuuuuge department store in Ginza...again, seeing a pattern here?

Louis Vuitton Ginza
Louise Vuitton Ginza, such an impressive storefront!

Bulgari Ginza
Bulgari store front, again, impressive!

New Year decorations at Matsuya Ginza
New Years decorations at Matsuya Ginza

Ginza at dusk

Ginza at dusk

Ginza at dusk

Ginza Hakuhinkan Toy Park
Hakuhinkan Toy Park...closed...

In Japan there are vending machines and convenience stores everywhere...except Ginza! Seriously, I just wanted a cheap drink to carry around and had to go down a lot of side streets to find a convenience store. Just goes to show what an image Ginza has. They should make super swanky vending machines just for Ginza that sells super expensive mineral water from Mount Fuji and gourmet green tea.

I got the metro home, stopped at Omotesando and walked back to Harajuku.

Louis Vuitton Omotesando
Louise Vuitton Omotesando

Omotesando at night
Omotesando street

Kiddyland Harajuku Omotesando
Kiddyland with Funassyi decorations!

Laforet Harajuku at night
LaForet at night, I love the little monster New Year's greeting!

After walking up to Meiji Dori, I remembered Closet Child was open and went back in to see if they had any sales! I was there almost every day for two weeks, then disappeared like a frilly Lolita ninja who'd just dropped mega dolla on a metric shit-ton of clothes. I wonder if they still think about me... *sarcastic*

Ozz Oneste dress
Ozz Oneste dress - I'd only seen Ozz Oneste online beforehand and hadn't seen much at that, but I absolutely fell in love with them in Japan and bought so much of their stuff in Closet Child. That brand speaks to me on a spiritual level.

Atelier Boz blouse
Atelier Boz blouse

On Day 4 I had a proper browse in Omotesando, checked out Shibuya 109 for the sales (spoiler: it was insane) and went to Shinjuku so check out my next post!

1 comment:

  1. Great Japan Travel Info you have shared with us. It’ll help people a lot planning a trip to Japan.
    Thank you.