Welcome to 2008

Happy new year everyone! I hope you have had a great festive season, eaten your fill of turkey (or, in Japan, perhaps chicken and pizza) and sent good time with your loved ones. Now it is time for a bright new year, the year of the rat- yes, that’s me, having been born in 1972 and rats are good in Chinese mythology just as dragons are, I’ll have you know.

Hope you had a good Christmas, if you celebrate one. As for us, we got a mini tree (doesn’t even come up to my knee), a conifer, from the plant-shop opposite, along with a matching pot. It was very cute, with it’s decorations. The lights were too heavy for it, though, so we put them on the nearby light stand and transferred a bow from a present to the tree!

 Bonsai-Style Xmas Tree  December 2007-782  

Then we were lucky enough to find a whole, roasted turkey in Takashimaya at a reasonable price, which saved a whole day of roasting in my underpowered oven, which we just used for the roastie potatoes and vegetables. It was a lovely Xmas meal and cinema Forest H had a special screening of Pirates of the Caribbean III for the occasion.

For new years we basically stayed in until it had come. I was amazed by the full-HD images from around Japan, showing the snowy noth and people going to bath on the beaches. The beautiful temples, shrines and kimonos were in our living room as never before and you didn’t even have to get cold. Later on we went to the shrine and said a prayer- well we actually did the latter later because of the long lines. whilst suwa Jinja is a beautiful place, they didn’t have so much realia as Kita Kogane offers. The sacred fires were plastic replicas and there was no sake on offer. I even had to go to a vending machine to get my new years amazake!

I went back there over the next few days, taking pictures of the celebrants. It is an amazing place for photography, due to the light coming in patches through the trees and of course the mood was fresh and pure for the new year. Akemashte omedeto gozaimasu!

New Year Prayers Waiting to Pray

Washing Hands Kissing BrotherNew Year's Kimono

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