The moment I got awake on the bed, and know that it’s New Year’s Eve,
my eyes got wide open, and not sleepy any more.
At last, this is the closure of the craziest and toughest year.
Although there was no party this year, I got to enjoy a lovely Chistmas dinner with my flatmate.
I presented her little chocolates and a card that I got from Japan, and she gave me a book by Terry Prachett. The tastes of big Tiramisu, made by her partner and the German traditional smoked beer composed the quiet and deep harmony on my tongue that reminded me that it’s festive season.
The days after the Christmas passed by so quickly. I was occupied with my little to-do list aiming the year end.
A sunny morning on 30th December, I went to make a tea in the kitchen. And, I noticed that there were stains from the Christmas day cooking remaining all over the stoves.
I started to scrub the surface of the stove with a sponge. As the surface becomes clear white again, I felt like my mind was also getting clear. Then I remembered something.
This is the sensation from the ritual we call “Year-end cleaning”.
In Japan, people clean their entire house in year end. This custom comes from Shintoh (Japanese folk animism) tradition that they clean the shrines intending to clean the old dust that piled in the year and clarify the surroundings to celebrate the new year coming.
Once I remembered how year-end cleaning feels good, I felt like cleaning more.
Especially, this year brought me a lot of difficulties, personally and globally.
So, this day of New Year’s Eve, I got awake early, being a bit excited.
I jumped off the bed and opened the window. Fresh cold air came in to the room.
I did some stretch and exercise as a daily routine.
I collected garbage, washed myself and tossed the bed sheet and blankets into the laundry machine.
“If it was my Mom, she would cleanse all windows in the house.” I thought. Some mothers like to prepare new towels and stuff to start using it on the new year’s day.
And, there is another year-end ritual enjoyed by Japanese people: eating Soba noodle.
It has some meanings, but some say it is because Soba is easy to cut by a bite, and that symbolizes “cutting off the year’s calamity”.
People (like me) are so enthusiastic to eat this in on the midnight, when the year switches to the new one, and the bell form a temple is hit.
This time, there will be no fireworks here in Berlin.
So, I will follow Japanese way to celebrate the new year, with a bowl of Soba noodle.