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Happy New Year to you! What a year 2014 was; some good, a fair bit of not-so-good…

The Japanese celebrate New Year with a number of interesting traditions. It is one of the most important dates in the calendar here. One of my favourite traditions is the eating of 年越しそば and any tradition which involves eating food is going to please me!

toshikoshisoba-2010
This is a simple yet delicious recipe for Year Crossing Noodles!

I used my winter vacation to return to the UK for two weeks and enjoy some time with my family and friends. Again, food played a major role and I was delighted to eat my mom’s home cooking after so long. Being abroad on placement really helps you to appreciate the finer points of Home.

Not only can my mom cook but she even hand-made our crackers this year! #HumbleBrag

It has to be said, during my break, I did a bit of soul-searching and I will admit, I had some regrets. Sitting curled up on my comfy sofa watching BBC and eating food you can’t get in Japan (wow, I really do only think with my stomach) made me seriously consider not getting on the plane to return.

Memories like this are not to be missed!
Memories like this are not to be missed!

Of course, I did return and it’s for two good reasons: firstly, I made a commitment to Aston; to the university here in Tokyo; and to myself, to see this through for a year. Secondly, I couldn’t miss out on the months of fun to be had in Japan coming up. You have to take the rough with the smooth.

Some Japanese traditions aren't too different to ours!
Some Japanese traditions aren’t too different to ours!

On New Year’s Eve, listening to Big Ben chime along with a group of my friends, I thought about the Japanese tradition of 除夜の鐘 where the temple bells ring 108 times (one for each sin!) and the sins of the previous year are abolished. I tried to imagine all the negativity of 2014 pealing away.

Getting a window seat is a double-edged sword...
Getting a window seat is a double-edged sword…

Cut to Sunday Janary 4th and I am on the flight. I made three resolutions:

  1. Be more honest with myself as well as others.
  2. Be more prepared for the things I know are coming and for possibilities.
  3. Say yes more and make the most of opportunities presented to me.

I plan to tackle 2015 with a whole lot more positivity and to see this become one of the best years of my life I strongly urge you to do the same! 明けましておめでとうございます!

Post Author: ryan

Ryan Skeet: I am an English Language placement student working in the English Teaching department at a university in Japan. I came here because I want to be a teacher when I grow up and because I have always been hugely obsessed with Japanese culture!