Happy New Year! In a lot of Japanese culture, it's not about Christmas. It's about the New Year. It's January 1st. We're not Christian, so it's a secular day, but New Years is for anyone. A day for family. Ok food time...
Food is a big deal, and this is typical greatness. My mom cooks well, and some of the guests bring their own concoctions. Amazing display, and I can't imagine how this can go on. We're all lazier, busier, and less of us learn or take the time to cook. So with that, the efforts of family get recognition. I'm sure your family has special occasions when they bring out their best. For me, it's New Years Day.
Whoa, mango and sticky rice. How did that get in there? My cousin and his wife owns BaiYook in San Diego. It's a great Thai restaurant in the Hillcrest area. This is a great way to end it all. There were plenty of other dishes, soup with mochi (ozoni), black beans (sweet), tempura, crab cake, sunomono, and honestly so much more that didn't fit on the table.
Aside from the big meal, the day begins and ends with the Buddhist altar. It'll be there tomorrow, it was there yesterday, and it'll be there long after I'm around, and it was there long before I was here. See the pics on the left? The small one right neat the orange is my aunt, the cut off photo above her is my grandfather, there's one cut off on the left and that would be my grandmother. See inside the altar? There's an Almond Joy sitting on a little pedestal. My aunt liked to eat those and that's why it's in there.