Happy 2014 everyone!  I hope you enjoyed the many holiday festivities with family and friends. Frigid Wisconsin wind-chills are keeping us home bound today, so I hope to relax, blog, and take a nap while my kids test out their many Christmas gifts. We’ll see how that goes…

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a package from my dear Japanese friends yesterday.  I wrote briefly about them in my Memories of Japan post.  Since first meeting the mom eleven years ago, I have received a New Year’s card and package of goodies so I keep my taste for Japanese cuisine EVERY YEAR.  It is so sweet of them to remember me and my family (and reminds me that I need to do a better job sending my own holiday card and U.S. treats in return).  I certainly hope our families paths will cross again with a trip to Tokyo someday, or I could host her family members on any U.S. travel.

Here’s part of the card, including pictures of her daughters, who were six and nine years old when I first met them.  Aren’t they beautiful young women now?!

New Year's Card from my Japanese friends
New Year’s Card from my Japanese friends

This was the first Christmas where I truly felt my age, as younger cousins and relatives really seemed to be so much bigger and look so much older!  I am somehow THAT person who says to the younger generation, “Wow, you are getting so big!” This statement also applies to my Japanese friend’s girls.  Where does the time go?!

Here are some of the goodies that we received – mostly savory, salty crackers with some bean paste candies tossed in (and not pictured as my kids DEVOURED them).

Japanese treats and Green tea I received
“Candy” to remind me of true Japanese cuisine.

With fond memories and a gratefulness for their friendship after all these years, we’ll enjoy these treats as a family. Happy New Year!

What American goodies should I send to my Japanese friends?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

I also included a few related articles, so you could learn more about New Year’s traditions in Japan.  When I asked my friend about Christmas, she said that it is considered more of a holiday for couples, who commonly dine on Kentucky Friend Chicken!!  Certain elements have been adopted in Japan, as noted in the second article.