Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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1
Jan 09
Thu

Happy New Year!

We went out looking for a drink last night after watching the fireworks over the bay, only to be stymied when we discovered that California has laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol in bars after 2.00am. (In Palo Alto, everything shuts at 1 or 2am, but I always thought that was only because it was Palo Alto, not because the alcohol has to stop flowing…) This country still surprises me sometimes.

I also learnt that in Japan, New Year’s traditions include making mochi – gooey rice cakes. Unfortunately, this tradition also has the side effect of causing several elderly Japanese people to choke to death each year while eating mochi. We get annual holiday road death tolls, in Japan they get annual holiday mochi death tolls. So each year, the Japanese distribute tips on how to avoid death by mochi, including the popular solution of shoving a vacuum cleaner down someone’s throat if they start gagging. My Japanese coursemates insisted this was not a joke. I was still dubious but Google appeared to confirm this improbable tale. Apparently the Heimlich manoevure doesn’t work too well.

In Berlin, New Year’s was described to me as a “war zone”, with people taking to the streets with roman candles, bangers, rockets and all manner of fireworks and miscellaneous incendiaries. And they fire them at each other.

Someone should do a “top 10 most dangerous places to celebrate New Year’s” feature…

  10:44am (GMT -8.00)  •  Life  •   •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment