I start the new year as a two-fisted drinker.
In one hand, a sweet Snoopy mug of dark black java splashed with half-and-half. In the other, a plastic purple cup containing a mimosa.
check ’em out … an unlikely pair, their contents imbibed:
And at midmorning a hot bath imbued with Epsom salt and an herbal tincture.
A cleansing and refreshing way to begin 2017.
I didn’t awaken with a hangover. Mindfully kept the New Year’s Eve celebratory imbibing to a minimum: serious swigs of rye whiskey snuck from a flask before the big Whiskey Row boot drop at midnight and a pint of craft beer.
True, those and the late bedtime hour (3 a.m.-ish) cast a rummy quality to my morning. Hence the relaxing and cleansing salt bath. Nothing like beginning a new year with a “clean slate.” (haha)
It’s nothing like what the Japanese do of course. Their o-shogatsu (new year) is their big celebration — akin to our Christmas minus the pervasive crass commercialism and stress on steroids.
Days before New Year’s are traditionally dedicated to wiping the slate clean of debts, deep cleaning inside homes — including windows! — and outside, like sweeping porches and so on. Workplaces give employees time to make their desks / work spaces sparkles before leaving early.
O-sooji it’s called. The Great Clean. (That “o” is honorific.)
Of course these aren’t hard and fast rules that apply to EVERY home and workplace, rather illustrations of the meaning Japanese attach to New Year’s. It’s a time to begin fresh, utterly relax, spend time with family, not cook but dine on foods traditionally reserved for New Year’s, each with deep symbolic meaning, of course.
It’s how Asian cultures do things (and Western cultures don’t).
I’ve actually continued o-sooji since leaving Japan (in body, not spirit!) — as my living situation permits.
For example, in homes owned by someone else where I’m merely renting a room, I’m not about to scrub their homes — don’t forget windows inside and out! — from top to bottom! Not without being paid really really well. Such meticulous work deserves compensation.
But in spaces (studio apartments) where I’ve lived solo, I do undertake o-sooji. I enjoy it: the hard work and satisfaction of a deeply-cleaned space that sparkles. Terrific way to greet any new year!
No o-sooji for me this year since I’m under George’s rules and dictates — soon to change, just gave 30-days notice yesterday. How liberating to shed that burden of our cohabitation on the final day of the year!
In fact, I didn’t even clean my little bedroom window — a modified mini o-sooji! I’m impeccable about keeping “my space” clean all the time anyhow so my bedroom was in no need.
But o-sooji‘s not just about physical stuff — cleanliness, paying debts off by Dec. 31, etc. It’s the spirit.
Anyhow. Year from now, no idea where I’ll be living. Perhaps I’ll be in my own space again and thus free to resume the traditional practice of o-sooji. I hope so. This roommate stuff sucks! Especially at age 59 — soon to be 60!
Anyways. My two-fisted drinks and hot salt bath (to at least o-sooji the body in lieu of a physical space!) partaken with Pandora from an iPad made for a nice, sane — and again hangover-free! — start to 2017.
2017’s gonna be one damn fine year. We got our country back, we here in America. Trump’s the man to LEAD a recovery and return to America exceptionalism.
There’s gonna be an optimism and strength and confidence restored that America hasn’t seen since Reagan (and that Darth Obama intentionally set out to destroy). Mark my words.
Best thing that happened in 2016: America saved itself and elected Trump to steer us forward.
Another reason to celebrate the arrival of 2017! America’s march toward the grave under Obama and socialism is reversed.
May our nation’s turn toward optimism, confidence and fortune flow abundantly into your own life.
And in keeping with Japanese New Year’s tradition: the purification and blessing of the kadomatsu: