Happy New Year 2012!

There is a Japanese term kuidaore, which loosely means that you eat until the inevitable collapse. “Kui” means “to eat,” and “daore” is “to collapse.” I think the term originated in the streets of Osaka, a part of Japan where food is religion.

Anyway, that’s what I did today at home to celebrate the new year in a true Japanese fashion – indulge, surfeit and yes, ultimately collapse on my parents’ sofa!

One of the rituals that I look forward to every New Year’s day is a Japanese singing show called, “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” or simply “Kohaku,” that airs on New Year’s Eve (from about 7:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m., giving 15 minutes for the countdown) on NHK, Japan’s equivalent of PBS.

The name of the show literally translates to “red and white (kohaku) song (uta) battle (gassen),” and female singers / groups (red team) and male singers / groups (white team) complete for the coveted winner’s flag. This is a way so many of Japanese families end the year and welcome the new one. I loved watching this as a child growing up in Japan, as it was a rare occasion that I got to stay up late and not get in trouble.

Since my fiancé and I were out on the New Year’s Eve (and we don’t even have TV), I watched the taped show at my parents’ house today. I skipped most of enka (old people songs) and just jumped to J-Pops and K-pops. Some of the Korean groups that made the appearance were pretty amazing. I must admit that most of Japanese groups can’t sing but they make up for it by the pure entertainment factors, with crazy costumes, lolita sex appeals, and extravagant dances. And speaking of outrageous costumes, Lady Gaga made a recorded performance as well, which I thought was pretty cool of her.

Passing down the torch … from the year of the rabbit to the year of the dragon!  Job well done, bunny … well done.

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