Kōhaku Uta Gassen
Posted by Heliocentrism on February 7, 2016
Thursday December 31st, 2015
A Quiet New Year’s Celebration
This year Mark and I chose to stay warm and ring in the New Year indoors. We invited the few friends we had that stayed in Japan over the winter break. Of those, only one showed up. The rest went to Hiroshima for a big city New Year’s party.
We started with a hot-pot dinner. Hot pot is essentially a stew that is cooked and eaten at the same time. If you feel like eating mushrooms, add mushrooms to the pot and wait a few minutes. Meats are thinly sliced so they cook quickly. At the beginning of the meal you have one type of stew, but by the end the ingredients and flavor would have changed.
To make hot-pot, you start with a base of flavored liquid or broth. You can make a broth base from scratch or buy one. (They come the land – pork or beef, sea – fish, crab, or shrimp, or air – chicken varieties.) Then add whatever you want. In Japan, there are entire sections of the grocery store that are dedicated to hot-pot. Just pick the stuff you like.
Around 7:30 pm we turned on Kohaku Uta Gassen. There were many Japanese pop stars and lot of enka singers. To be honest I don’t care for J-pop. When I lived in Korea I really got into K-pop. To me, it sounds like music, but in Korean. J-pop, on the other hand, sounds like… baby music.
I’m not a music critic and I don’t have the right vocabulary to describe how I feel about types of music. Plus, I’m not a big music listener. But, when I hear J-pop, I feel like I’m too old to enjoy it; if I were a 10-year-old, maybe I would like it…
Around 9:00 Melissa went home. She wanted to be at a shrine near her apartment at midnight. Later she told me that a Japanese family adopted her for a few hours and showed her what to do at the shrine.
Mark and I continued watching the show. We drank Miyoshi wine, watched the count down, then went to bed.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)
Kōhaku Uta Gassen
(Red and White Singing Contest)
How to Watch:
- Go to Japan and turn on your TV.
- Click here on December 31st.
- The cost of your TV license or internet fee
- 7:20 p.m. to 11:45 p.m on New Year’s Eve.
- Kohaju Uta Gassen 2015 Watch the whole thing