We hope everyone had a great holiday, wherever you are in the world. My family had a more-or-less traditional Japanese Christmas dinner, with baked chicken, mashed potatoes, "Christmas cake" and sushi, and it was great fun. Let's do it again next year!
Now that Christmas has over, Japan is getting ready for the end of 2012 and the arrival of the new year, which is the most important time in Japan. There's lots to do, including buying traditional New Year's foods like mochi, pressed squares of white rice called "rice cakes" in English (this name sounds really strange to Japanese people) which are delicious to eat. The Japanese have a great year-end tradition of cleaning the house from top to bottom, called 大掃除 oh-souji or "big cleaning," and I love it because crossing into a new year with a clean house feels great and mentally prepares you for new challenges. Companies have this tradition as well, and tomorrow the J-List staff will be processing the day's orders early, then we'll stop all work and clean our company from top to bottom, throwing away the past year's accumulated junk and making everything fresh and new.
It's time for year-end "Big Cleaning"!