Hanshin Madhouse 阪神混乱

Today we went with Somemaru Hanshin, a major department store in Umeda. We had to buy ingredients for osechi, traditional Japanese food to be made and eaten over the New Year’s holiday, the first few days of the new year. I’ve heard that the idea behind osechi is to give mothers and wives, who are generally busy in homes throughout the year, a break from the kitchen at the beginning of the year. Since Somemaru does virtually all the cooking in his house, the time off will be his. I’ll write more about osechi and New Years at Somemaru’s in the coming days.

Because the country all but closes down for the first few days of the new year, everybody seemed to be out taking care of their year-end shopping. The trains were packed outside of rush hour, and Hanshin was a madhouse! It was all fun for  me though, because I usually don’t get to see such sites. It really reminded me of the situation in American shopping malls immediately before and after  Christmas Day. Instead of doing last-minute Christmas shopping and gift returns, people in Japan are buying up food that keeps well, and New Years decorations.

今日は染丸師匠とお節の材料などを買いに梅田の阪神百貨店に行きました。どこかで聞いたんですが、お節を作る意味は普段キッチンなどで忙しい母・婦人をお正月の期間に休ますためであります。染丸師匠の家では、彼はほとんどの料理するので、お正月にできるお休みは師匠のためですねぇ。師匠の家でのお節やお正月過ごしについて明日も明後日ももうちょっと書きます。

お正月の期間、4日まではほとんどの店が閉まっているので、今日はその準備のために日本人のミナは年末の最後の買い物に出かけていた感じがしました。ラッシュアワーじゃないのに電車に人がいっぱいし、阪神百貨店も大混雑していました。しかし、普段はこんな景色は見れない僕にとっては、大変楽しかったです。実は、アメリカでのクリスマスのすぐ前と後のショッピング・モールの状態を思い出しました。日本のお正月前では、ぎりぎり最後のクリスマスショッピンッグやその後のプレゼント返品などするより、日本の皆さん方は長く保存できる食べ物やお正月の飾りを買うんですね。

 

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