The coming of a new year is a big celebration in most cultures around the world, but when we were growing up, we partied quietly at home, watching TV, sitting around the kotatsu, eating clementines and omochi. In fact, the Japanese have an entire menu of traditional New Year's fare called osechi. I'm not a big fan, so this year for food, we just made some ramen, added veggies and omochi and slurped the noodles for good luck and prosperity. Oooh, hot salty goodness on a cold day!
On a side note, I had the darndest time finding Japanese omochi. My grandparents actually used to make it and I remember watching Ojii-chan pounding at it with a giant mallet that he swung over his entire body and between poundings, Obaa-chan would run in and flip the mound of doughey rice. Awesome. Anyhow, I finally lucked out at my local health food store, MOMS organic market in Alexandria, VA. It's in the refrigerated section and it was yummy!