Happy new year folks! Or as it is said in Japanese, "Akemashite, Omedetou-gozaimasu!" .
And as for the other languages I speak:-
새해 복 많이 받으십시오! 祝你新年快樂！Feliz año nuevo! Bonne année!
Well OK I don't speak Spanish or French too well but interestingly enough, I was taught Spanish by a French teacher. Used to speak it well but didn't get the opportunity to use the language at all.
So, tis new years day in Japan as with previous years we do what most others do and go to the local shrine for Hatsumoude. Hatsumoude , is the first visit of the new year to a shrine where citizens flock to say a prayer for the new year.
This is our Hamaya for last year. If you take the kanji, it literally means an arrow that destroys demons. Many Japanese place one at home throughout the year to ward off evil spirits and bad fortune.
The reason we have it with us today is because we are going to return it to the shrine and have them burn it for us. Many charms bought from the shine the previous year are usually returned to be burned the next year.
Today we are visiting Meguro Fudouson Ryusenji temple located in Meguro.
The temple was built in the year 808. In 1615, the temple was burned down in a fire but was restored under the Tokugawa shogunate in 1624.
The nearest stations are Musashikoyama and Nishikoyama on the Meguro line.
The prayers for the new year are usually made at the largest building in the shrine grounds where there are priests chanting throughout the day.
Inside the shrine is a huge box like object with wooden strips on the top. The box is usually placed in front of the statues of the gods. Money is thrown into the box and after two claps, you would say a prayer for the next year.
And here are the types of omamori that you can purchase which are all made to order. You write down your name n address and the type of protection or luck bringing that you need for the following year. Which are:-
-Ward off calamity
-Safety for family
-Prayers are fulfilled
-Prevent my current illness from getting worse
-Save me from these rough seas
-Safety for family+Flourishing business combo pack
-Safety for family+Good health combo pack
Which would you choose?
For the first few days of the new year, shrines are generally packed until folks get back to work next week.
As you can imagine, shrines make quite a bit of money at this time of year - so much so that many shrines are competing for visitors and you can see a load of TV commercials at this time of year.
Found a CM from 1985 below.
If one of the following applies to you this year (gender and age) then you are in for a year of bad luck!
Luckily, the shrine sells charms and provides services to bless you with protection - which will cost you more money. We spent over 10000 yen at the shrine this morning on amulets and food.
The honesty of the Japanese in general means that this form of selling works. In this case, these boxes have rolls of paper with fortunes written on them. You take one and place 100 yen in the slotted hole.
I've also seen unmanned vegetable stores where you would take a veggie and place money in a provided container.
Would/do the concept of unmanned stores work in your neck of the woods?
While some of the fortunes are good, some of them will say something like, "you will be beaten up by a horde of raging baboons and eaten by a giant snake where you will be digested over 1000 years."
If this is not your idea of good fortune, you will need to make sure the fortune is not fulfilled by tying it to this fence. As you can see, there are a load of people who are not keen on baboons or giant snakes.
Most neighborhoods have a shrine - some are big and some are small. Some of them you wont discover for years unless you look in every nook and cranny of your neighborhood.
We discovered Meguro Fudouson shrine only a few years ago after more exploration of our local area.
Apart from the Japanese, many gaijin also flock to the temples too.
Karin prefers it indoors where its nice n warm where she eats good food and watches new year TV which is filled with new year sale commercials.
Before I forget, you can see coverage of previous years in the following photo articles:-
-Japanese New Year 2006 (Meiji Jingu in Harajuku)
-Japanese New Year 2007 (Sensouji in Asakusa)
-Japanese New Year 2008 (Meguro Fudouson)
-Japanese New Year 2009 (Meguro Fudouson)
The Lucky Star girls get in their new year gear too.
Hope you are having a great time with your 2D or 3D loved ones and that you had a great 2009. Here's wishing you an even greater 2010!
Would also like to thank you for your continued support over the years (tears).
Before I leave you, I'd like you to add something to your new years resolution list.
Don't wait until next year again to add stuff that you want to accomplish to your new years resolution list - do that something now and accomplish it sooner.
A new years resolution is just an excuse to put it off for another year.