The only way to start a New Year is with o-zōni. Following that, we went to my cousin's house where lots of family gathered to talk, eat, and play games. The next day was when we returned to Seattle.
New Year's day
We enjoyed a lazy New Year's morning, sleeping in and enjoying the o-zōni (雑煮) that my dad made. The mochi was nice and soft, and now we know we'll have good luck this year.
Oshogatsu (正月) is the Japanese New Year, but the part our family most enjoys is the New Year's feast. We gather at my cousin's house to not only eat, but we also take the opportunity to catch up with other family members; even though we had just seen many of them at mochitsuki, things get so hectic it's hard to really get a good conversation in. A group of people went bowling, and Kellen and Noël joined them.
The other thing we do is play games, with the anchor game being Trivial Pursuit with the men against the women. This time, the men got really lucky with good rolls: lots of small numbers, lots of "roll again" spaces, and all the pie squares in one trip around the board. We also got lucky with the questions, and while we had some close misses with answers, we had many more lucky guesses, so we ended up winning.
Of course, there is always plenty of leftover food, so people take some so my cousin doesn't end up with all the leftovers.
Our flight wasn't until the late afternoon, so we went down to Lyon Art Supply with my parents so they could do some work, and we went back to the same café we were at a couple days before. Got more macarons, of course.
After a while, we met my parents and aunt at Tony's Italian on 7th and Long Beach Boulevard. It used to be a French dip place. At some point changed to a Brazilian restaurant, but they still sold French dip. Now it's Italian, and yes, they still sell French dip. However, we decided to try the buffet, which was quite good, and not all that expensive, to boot. Back to the store where I did a little bit of tech support for my mom, then we all piled into the car to go to LAX.
Once we got through security (which was much faster than I thought it would be), we settled in to do some charging and got some sandwiches (each of which was more expensive than the buffet lunch we had) to take onto the plane. I glanced at our boarding passes, and noticed that Melody would have been able to go through the TSA Pre line, but since both our passes were on my phone, it ended up not mattering, anyway.
The flight was full, and we left a little late, but otherwise it was an uneventful trip. We boarded the train to downtown, which is where Kellen and Noël proceeded towards their place, and we found a bus to make it the rest of the way home.