End of year / new year ornaments
First these 2 pictures. Now the winter has arrived, the skies get clearer and Mt. Fuji is visible quite some times. Nice sunsets as well, so I just HAD to take some more pictures...
This is (a commercialized version of) traditional japanese Mochi. It is made from a special type of very sticky rice, made to some dough-like substance. It is normally made before new year, some is eaten immediately and some is left as an offer to the gods. Finally, about 2 weeks after new year, it has dried out (not this commercial, vacuum packed one) and is normally not edible anymore. They are broken in pieces and deepfried to make a sort of rice crackers (Dutch: vergelijkbaar met de Japanse Mix)
Many people and shops have special ornaments on/around the door around new year. Often with grass braids, bamboo, pine branches, fern, mandarin oranges, white paper strokes... I heard that people keep the ornaments the full year round and burn them in a fire in new-years night.