The SRF / JRMC New Year celebration was held on Friday, January 12th. The event was held in one of the large “shop” spaces within the SRF / JRMC compound. There was a plethora of food and beverages.

The celebration included a speech given by the Commanding Officer and the presentation of awards.

After the speeches and awards, the traditional ceremony of opening a sake barrel was conducted.

I recorded a short segment of the music.

At the correct moment, the master of the ceremony (his hand is in the left corner of my photo and video) directs the openers to crack the lid.

I did a little research to understand the sake opening ceremony a little better. The ceremony is called “kagami biraki.” Kagami means mirror and biraki means to open. Obviously, no mirrors are used or opened during the ceremony. The lid is broken using a wooden mallet called a kizuchi. Then using a wooden ladle, hishaku, the sake is is poured into masu cups. The masu or sake cup is a square cup made of pine. The pine adds a nice flavor to the sake as you sip.

The reason the ceremony is called “kagami biraki” is because the surface of the sake looks like a mirror when the lid is removed. The ceremony is believed to bring good luck to the organization.

It was a fun afternoon. I mean, what’s not to love? Drinking sake during the work day with my husband in uniform. I wore one of my new Thailand skirts.

And if sake wasn’t your drink of choice, there was plenty of Miller Lite! The pine also added a nice taste to our Miller Lites.

Plus, I had a chance to catch up with a couple of Wubas. Class of ’00 & ’97 represented in Japan!

As always, it was fun to observe another Japanese traditional ceremony. Happy New Year! Wishing you good fortune, friendship, and prosperity. Kanpie!