Oshogatsu

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Wed 2012/01/04 21:57 JST in Japanese Pop Culture

Oshogatsu ] is the word meaning "new year." Currently 4 days into 2012. How has your new years been so far? After about half a year of Culture Japan Season 2 production, I've always said that I'd take at least a day off in the new year. It turned out that so much other work piled up over the 6 months that it was difficult to just drop everything for a whole day ^^

But did manage to get some time to do the new year stuff which includes going to our local temple to make a prayer and exchange our Omamori and Ofuda.

At the Fudouson temple grounds. At this time of year, a load of hawker stalls would setup to sell nourishment and beverages.

Folks who want to visit the Fudouson temple should get off at the nearest stations which are Musashikoyama and Nishikoyama on the Meguro line.

At the entrance to the main temple, there is a fountain which you should use to clean your hands to purify yourself.

The act of attending a shrine or temple at the beginning of the year to make a prayer is called Hatsumoude ].

These are called Omikuji - fortunes which have turned out to be bad - things like "a baboon will leave a pile of poo in your breakfast every day for the rest of this year." Most folks would not want something like that to come true so they tie the unlucky fortune to this fence.

Time for some noms - boiled potatoes with some butter.

This is Okonomiyaki with some katsuo sprinkled on the top. The katsuo will wave about while the Okonomiyaki is still warm which makes it look alive ^^

Huddling together with strangers in the cold.

Incense is burned infront of the main temple. Folks will approach the burning incense and try to get a whiff of the smoke.

Inside the main temple. In the middle there is a box called Saisen Bako ] where you would throw money before making a prayer. You would often see the box drawn in Tohou illustrations.
Usually one would throw a 5 yen coin - the pronunciation for "5 yen" in Japanese is "Go-en" (pronounced "goh en") and is the same pronunciation as "ご縁" meaning "good luck or fate."

Behind the Saisen Bako is where one will see many priests blessing the amulets and talisman before they are handed over to the owner.

We discovered this temple a few years after moving into this area - one of the things I love about Japan - a new discovery everyday.

These are called Ema which are plaques of wood where one would write their wishes on.

Its time to visit the god who specializes in ones legs and waist - just what I need for my spinal hernia.

The water in this fountain is not only used for purification purposes...

...but also for splashing water on this god.

Visualize your goal and toss a coin.

Some kids about to try their dab hand at shooting a target.

If you are playing, remember not to take this too seriously. All the PSP games and wot not are all for display purposes only. What you are supposed to do is shoot a cork at one of the targets - if it falls over then its yours. Only the small items worth less than 100 yen will fall over ^^
This guy here is getting greedy and tries to go for the Koala snack. Even though he puts the gun right next to the target, the snack barely budges.

Arashi, Exile and AKB posters to entice the punters - these are just for display purposes too.

And this is what the Meguro Fudouson temple looked like many many moons ago.

Outside the temple are more stalls being setup to feed folks with warm rice wine and yakitori.

Then its off to check out our local shopping arcade as we usually do.

Most shops are closed but restaurants and grocery stores are open.

Decorations and signs outside closed stores wishing folks a happy new year.

Not sure about the meaning of these rubber chickens though ^^

Had a craving for some KFC ^^

Not too sure what I'm doing here ^^;

A load of folks lining up for some takeout sushi.

Pokeon calendars given away at Mc Dees.

And this is what we are after - Mc Dees apple pai for dessert ^o^

And this is how I eat apple pie - with ice cream ^o^ Absolutely nomalicious.

TV is filled with new year specials - here we have the Milky Holmes girls on their own show.

Hope you had a nice time off but also hope that you get back into gear soon - especially if you got goals to reach!

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)
-Japanese New Year 2010 (Meguro Fudouson)
-Japanese New Year 2011 (Meguro Fudouson)