Japan Diaries: Day 14 and 15

Day 14 January 1, 2015:

Happy New Year from Japan! After a very quiet night (no fireworks), we woke up to experience New Year's day ala Japanese.
The Osechi
Check out how colorful our New Year's meal is!
The Japanese (most if not all) celebrate their New Year in a simple partaking of the traditional Japanese New Year food called osechi. Aside from that Mr. Toshi also made us try the famous sake. (Nothing beats authentic Japanese food!) While we're enjoying the feast Mr. Toshi is also explaining the important Japanese New Year traditions. He told us that their family annually visits a temple to pray for their success and health for the year. He even invited us to join him and his family that afternoon for this religious obligation.
Kokawadera (Temple)
Inside Kokawadera (temple)
That afternoon we tagged along as our Japanese family drove to to Kokawadera (temple) in Kinokawa City in Wakayama Prefecture. Once in the temple complex, Mr. Toshi showed and explained to us the procedures for their religious activity. We tried some of their traditions and offered prayers in our own way. 
Apple lollipops for sale outside the temple
A sudden snow storm lashes throught the lanterns
When we were about to leave a sudden snow storm caught us by surprise. The temperature dipped to below zero and we had to rush to the cars for warmth. We then drove to AEON Mall for our dinner. My wife and I also got the chance to buy some ingredients for some Filipino dishes that we plan to cook for our Japanese family in the days to come.
Driving to AEON Mall
Check out the size of this apple in AEON Mall!
Dinner at AEON Mall
Overall, we have learned a several new things about Japanese customs and traditions today. We even had a chance to try some of it. Today's activities also made mefall in love with the Japanese traditions deeper.

Day 15 January 2, 2015:
Snowy morning Japan! Yesterday we got to experience some Japanese cultures and traditions thanks to our Japanese family. Today however, is our chance to make our Japanese family experience and taste some Filipino-styled dishes. Thanks to Kaldi Coffee Farm in AEON Mall yesterday, we got some much needed "imported" ingredients from the Philippines that my wife would use in her dishes today.
That's my wife cooking her famous lumpia
Yum!
Cooking for our Japanese family.
We planned to cook the famous pork adobo but the meat in the fridge was a lot different from what we really needed so my wife cooked some lumpiang togue instead. Aside from that I also helped her prepare her specialty buko pandan dessert.  
The taste test
During lunch time, we were nervous about what our Japanese family would say about the dishes. Thank goodness, they kept on saying it was oishi! Because of the positive feedback, my wife and I became more confident and excited to cook again. Because of that we spent the night planning about what other local dishes we could prepare for our Japanese family.

Overall, today was a really fulfilling day for me and my wife, we saw the positive feedback on our dish as an accomplishment. It also made us want to cook for them again.

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