Akemashite omedeto

New Year is very important in Japan. Businessmen are expected to visit their customers as soon as possible in the New Year to wish them akemashite omedeto. So far as I could work out, this means “congratulations on your opening” or something.Visiting customers takes a long time because the traffic gets tied up with people driving around to see their customers. You don’t actually meet your customer because he is tied up in the traffic jam visiting his customers.

At New Year, it is customary to eat mochi – a very sticky pounded rice cake. It is common for old people to choke on mochi. So far this year six have died and five others are in a serious condition. If you have someone you would like to make mochi for, you can do it at home.

Just in case you are interested in this stuff, Japanese say there is no man in the moon. What we see is actually a rabbit pounding rice cakes.

Anyway, I wish everyone here – including rog, THR and FDB -a great 2011.

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15 Responses to Akemashite omedeto

  1. Gab says:

    Douzo meshiagare, Ken san.

  2. Ken Nielsen says:

    Merci Gab. I was one of those gaijin who spent three years and a couple of hundred thousand dollars in language lessons at the end of which I could carry on a simple conversation with someone who went to the same language school.

  3. Gab says:

    I spent two weeks in Kyoto for work, Ken. By the end of it I was fluent in ordering drinks and could travel to Nara Park on my own and not get lost, asking for directions in perfect Japanese.

    My claim to fame. That and singing with Ricky May at the Don Burrows Supper Club.

  4. Ken Nielsen says:

    Oh yeah, I could order drinks and food and direct taxis. I also had a pretty good speech for weddings and funerals if it was written out for me in romaji. But conversation, no.

    Hey, that must have been fun. That was at the Wentworth, right?
    Still sing?

  5. Gab says:

    One of my French colleagues, in Japan for work, could speak fluent Japanese and write in Russian. He annoyed me.

    Wentworth? Regent? I honestly cannot remember, too long ago. Nah, I can’t carry a tune, of course that doesn’t prevent me from singing. Ricky just called me up from the table is all.

  6. JC says:

    Hey, while on the subject of coffee and Japanese…

    A long time ago I tried a Japanese made coffee in a Japanese restaurant. I was a glass sort of contraption that percolated through these narrow glass tubes from the top to the bottom.

    You know what they are as they make great coffee. It’s been years since I tried it though.

  7. Ken Nielsen says:

    I’ll try to find out Joe – it’s probably in this book which I have somewhere.
    The other thing is that the Japanese used to buy the most expensive coffee – the whole crop of Jamaica Blue Mountain one year.
    At the height of the bubble there was a cafe in Osaka which sold coffee at $500 a cup. It had one table – French antique – a French impressionist painting on the wall and you were asked what kind of coffee and water. And there was cold leaf on the top.
    Never tried it though.

  8. JC says:

    Thanks gab… yea it was the last link. That thing makes really delicious coffee. In fact I’d say it was the best I’ve ever had in that style.

  9. JC says:

    Thanks Ken… 500 bucks a drink? No wonder they went bust.

  10. Ken Nielsen says:

    Yep, that was the peak on silliness – 1990 I think.

  11. rog says:

    You better hurry ken, one of the inmates has just committed seppuku. You might need to take some towels, its messy. Something about the tea.

  12. THR says:

    Happy NY to you too, Ken.

  13. Pingback: Club Troppo » Missing Link Friday – Summer Quiz

  14. Hey, for the last three weeks I’ve been in Japan with the Japanese wife and kid in tow visiting the large family in law, friends and riding my brother in law’s Harley Davidson 850 Sportster around Osaka. It has even snowed in Osaka very lightly. My son has enjoyed hanging out with his cousins, two very sweet kawaii girls.

    Went to Shirahama the seaside onsen hot spring bathh house place. When in Shirahama go see The Big Ocean Show. No, really.

    Yes, all very swinging…We may even move to Tokyo to do business. Who knows. Must have a motorcycle of course. Then onto America permanently would be the thang…. Had a groovy time with by brother in laws Harley riding, blues and Spanish guitar playing club owning drinking and emotional pals. Will post photo’s of said Harley hog.

    No, really.

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