Photo Illustration by Frances Dai

Aditi Borde

Though there are many types of soba noodles, the Japanese cook toshikoshi soba in their celebration of Omisoka.

Soba (Omisoka)

Each person often has a unique way of ringing in the new year. Hanah Kitamoto ’22 does so with buckwheat noodles, called soba, and a quarter-day-long TV program.

Like many other Japanese individuals, Kitamoto cherishes Omisoka, a Japanese New Year celebration that takes place on Dec. 31. One part of the celebration is a six-hour-long TV program in which several song artists perform; another is soba.

“Since this is a type of noodle that is really long, it’s wishing for a long life, and if you eat it on Dec. 31, which is Omisoka, it makes you live longer,” Kitamoto said.

Soba, thus, carries a deeper meaning relating to these Japanese values.

“This holiday’s basically a pretty big deal in Japan, especially because people in Japan really emphasize the new year and starting everything new,” Kitamoto said. “It’s really a time of year where a family just gets together, and even if it’s a small family, it’s really nice because you get to make the food together and just spend time together.”

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