I’m in high cotton now!

A Southernism for “I’m rich/prosperous now!”

You can take the girl outta Japan but not Japan outta the girl.

I much prefer the New Year’s celebration in Japan over its American counterpart.  Though I departed my adopted home in the Far East many moons ago, I still practice some of Japan’s traditional practices externally and internally.

What Japan’s New Year’s celebration is NOT: a drunken raucous party of unhinged partiers who’ll greet Jan. 1 with a hangover, DUI and/or night in jail.

What it IS: oshogatsu, Japan’s New Year’s is called. None of the American mayhem. Three days (Jan. 1-3) of pretty solemn celebrations — to shrines and temples to offer up new year’s prayers and family gatherings. Schools and many businesses are closed. Traditional weird foods — which a majority admit they don’t like! — are prepped or purchased ahead of New Year’s and shared in homes — originally so that the cook (invariably mother/matriarch) could also enjoy time off.

Japan’s new year’s practices are fascinating and complex (and certainly more than the American version!) ; a link for the curious.

My entry into 2020 is a cultural hodgepodge.

Japanese at the core. Day 2 into 2020 and I remain in retreat, internally. I do not desire to interact with people or the world. I desire solemn space, solemn tones. I’ll come out of hibernation after Day 3, in keeping with Japan’s traditions.

Best would be if I could shut off ALL external noise but that ain’t gonna happen! Not with my tiny studio bordered on three sides by a major freeway and two major thoroughfares!

Add an American twist.

Shortly before midnight struck on New Year’s Eve, I ventured to a favorite small craft brewery — looooove me craft brews! Unable to decide from their luscious tap list of some 30 brews, I sprung for the “obvious”: #20 for 2020. XtraCitra Pale Ale by Surley brewery, loved it!

Stir in some Southern culture.

The traditional first meal for luck in the new year is black-eyed peas, greens (collard, mustard, kale) and cornbread: black-eyed peas representing coins, greens representing bills, cornbread signifying gold and pork for prosperity because pigs root forward.

(googling “Southern New Year’s meal” will return a wealth of hits, no pun intended.)

Because I now have an Instant Pot that I adore, I spent New Year’s Day concocting this Trifecta of Luck and Prosperity — replacing corn for cornbread for nutritional value.

Couldn’t say why I went the Southern route! Perhaps it was the novelty, the creativity, the adventure venturing into a mostly-unfamiliar culture.

Whatever the inspirations, it worked! 2020 opened with an amazing, flavorful, satisfying homemade meal!  With leftovers to come!

Add streams of spiced mulled wine or sparkling wine (Prosecco) with festive additions of frozen blueberries — and really, I don’t the New Year’s celebration to end!

But it shall, tomorrow. In keeping with Japan’s traditional 3 days of Serious Downtime!

Then it’s back to the grind: of Phoenix and all those ills. Ugh.

For today, though, I shall set those aside and enjoy the quietude — such as it isn’t when bordered by (1) horribly busy noisy freeway and (2) thoroughfares!

For today, I am grateful that I’ve nowhere that I MUST be.

I’m grateful for mostly quiet neighbors who enable this tiny sanctuary in the Roaring Sea of Phoenix NOISE.

I’m grateful for superb lucky Southern fare in my fridge!

And of course spirits poured into a glass. 😉

As they say in Japan, akemashite omedetou. あけましておめでとう. Happy New Year!

The traditional honoring and purifying kadomatsu:


And my Southern feast ensuring prosperity and abundance in 2020 (black-eyed peas in the bowl, collard greens — both incorporating bacon — and corn):

Newyear's Lucky food

I’m in high cotton in 2020!








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