At Christmas time, Japanese people get busy preparing to see the old year out and the new year in.
The year-end party, called “Bou-nen Kai“, is the one, which means to forget the bad things that happened during the year. The parties are generally held among various groups, such as friends, colleagues at work or neighbors. So people with many social connection have a lot of parties sometimes almost everyday during this season.
I am not a very socially active person but had a party with members of my study group at a restaurant of sumo-wrestler’s hot pots, called “Chanko-nabe“. “Chanko” means any kind of dish eaten by sumo wrestlers and “nabe” means hot pot meal.
The soup broth was made by boiling different kinds of seafood water flavored with soy sauce. Fish balls, chicken tofu carrots leaks and Chinese cabbage, etc. were boiled in the soup. After all the ingredients were eaten, rice or noodles were put into the soup, which filled us up.
The owner of the restaurant was an amateur sumo-wrestler during his college years and now is a vice-president of the Japanese Olympic Committee. He happened to come into the restaurant while we were there. Because one of our members knew him well, he gave us a bottle of alcohol and calendars printed by the Japanese Sumo Association (Nihon Sumo Kyokai). It was nice party to wash away the troubles of the year.