I recently published my first article in the North American Post. My articles will be featured in the paper at the beginning of each month. In case some of you missed it, you can read it here. Thank you for your interest in reading what I have to say. Here’s wishing you a good start for 2016!
My childhood memories of year-end traditions while growing up in Kyushu, Japan always flood my mind this time of the year.
I went through culture shock when I arrived in America at the age of eleven and saw how differently people in America celebrated the coming of the New Year. Lively New Year’s Eve parties, waking up late on January first and watching football games on television while munching on various party foods was so foreign to me.
The older I get, the more I cherish my childhood memories and the tradition of
“starting new with a fresh mindset.” It’s such a good feeling to get enough sleep and rise early on January first, refreshed to face the coming year.
These are my fond memories of New Years growing up in Kokura.
I like to start out every New Year with something cheerful, something that makes me appreciate small, pretty things expressed with beautiful colors. It is my wish to help you create a similar feeling. Read more
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I fell while walking my dog last spring and sustained a mouth injury. You can read what happened to me here.
Since then, I’ve gone through a year of dental reconstructive surgeries under the care of the remarkable Dr. Rhys Spoor and his kind and knowledgable staff. They are the best team ever! Read more
If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know that I am passionate about the daily practice of Kaizen in my life. Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy. Here is my interpretation of this word, “Life-long learning in small incremental steps”. Read more
After I opened my first hair salon in 1980, I worked hard to build my business. I scrimped and saved and put in long hours of work. But I never felt like I was going anywhere with it. Every year was a struggle in financial hardship. Yet, when I looked around, my peers were doing so well. They bought fancy cars and traveled all over the world to attend exciting Beauty Symposiums. Read more
If someone asked you if you are a hoarder, you’d probably say, “No. I keep my living space clean most of the time.”
Let me share a story about how I was not able to concentrate on writing the chapters to my new book, even though I cleaned and organized my office space and created an environment that was a pleasant space to think and write. Read more
My childhood memories of the year-end traditions, while growing up in Kiyushu, Japan always floods my mind this time of the year.
I went through a culture shock when I arrived in America at the age of eleven and saw how differently people in America celebrated the coming of the new year. Lively new year’s eve parties, waking up on January first and watching football games on TV was so foreign to me. The older I got, the more I cherished my childhood memories of Oshogatsu (Japanese New Years).
Starting the first of December, Mother would say, “Keiko, we are going through each room in our house and give them a deep cleaning. Without an argument, I helped Mother clean all the shoji-screens, de-cluttered the drawers and swept and cleaned the floors.
Mother also gave me a To-do list.
Mother’s To Do list read like this: Do you owe money to anyone? Pay it back.
Did you say unkind words to anyone? Apologize before the year ends.
Did you mean to do a kind act for someone? Do it now.
Did you think about what you will do in the coming year to become a better person? Write it down.
After I finished my to do list, then it was time to relax and enjoy the coming of the new year which began near midnight on December 31. We sat in our clean house and enjoyed eating traditional bowl of buckwheat noodles topped with grated mountain potatoes, listening to the far away sounds of the temple bells as it rang out the exact number of the year we were about to enter.
Mother would say, “Keiko, soba noodles are the last to enter your body this year. The noodles are cleansing. You will start out the new year with a clean body and a clear mind.”
I always got up early on New Year’s Day. Mother dressed me in a colorful kimono and we visited the temple and prayed for a good year so we will have the fortune to maintain good relationships, health and wealth. After that, we went home, ready to have fun playing children’s games (played only at Oshogatsu time) with the neighborhood children and eating traditional New Year’s food Mother prepared. Oshogatsu lasted three days from Jan. 1 – 3.
Even though it’s been many years since I left Japan, I still remember my Mother’s words at the end of each year. I try my best to follow through with the list Mother made for me.
Happy New Year and I wish for you a year filled with joy, gratitude and love.