It’s the second day of the new year. We are all currently enjoying full bellies from one the traditional New Year’s meals here in Japan, a soup called ozoni.

There are a few ways of making ozoni. The base is a clear soup made with fish stock and soy sauce, but also seasoned with yuzu, a fragrant citrus fruit that is somewhere between a lemon and an orange.

The main ingredient of ozoni is arguably mochi, sticky rice pounded until it is one solid mass which is then cut into smaller pieces.

In some places ozoni is pretty much just the mochi and the soup with a few slivers daikon and a sprig of a light leafy green. It’s light and fragrant and softens the mochi nicely.

My wife makes a different type of ozoni. The type with lots of veggies. Lotus root, burdock, carrots, hakusai, sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms. Which can all be found in ozoni, but she adds the standard amount and then a whole bunch more. She also adds in some chicken with is another rarity.

I’m sure those other ozoni are fine and good. But her version tastes like home to me. (Even if the southerner in me thinks it would be complemented nicely with a side dish of collards and black-eyes peas.)

Now, the four of us are in a pile in our living room. The kids are watching some English videos and is parents are watching them.

We’re warm and happy. It is indeed a happy new year.

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