New Year's 2006 at IzumoTaisha
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!
That's Japanese for "Happy New Year!"
I had some friends come and stay at my place over the New Year's holiday - Donna, Eri and Liz, who all live out on the Oki Islands off the coast of Shimane.
In this picture we're joined by British ALT Ang and her friend Fran, who was just visiting for the holidays. Eri & Liz are Canadians and Donna is from New Zealand, so I was the only American.
We had a good time hanging out and Eri even cooked dinner for us both nights. Yum!
We went to my local shrine, IzumoTaisha on New Year's Eve at about 11:30pm and joined the literally thousands of others waiting for the New Year to arrive. There was a small countdown - go, yon, san, ni, ichi - "HAPPY NEW YEAR! and then not much of anything else - unless you were willing to wait in the HUGE line waiting to get into the inner shrine to pray and make a wish for the new year. The line was hundreds of people long and it was cold - so us gaijin decided not to wait.
Many of the Japanese around us were a little suprised to see us Westerners walking around, but Ang, who teaches at the local High School, and I saw lots of our students and their families. All the Japanese people were buying good luck charms and writing wishes on tablets that you can leave at the shrine for luck. The tablets have a picture of a dog on them, since 2006 is the year of the dog.
I did buy some nifty hashi (chopsticks) at a vendor stall that were lining the long walk up to the shrine. I also had a tasty sausage on a stick.
We walked back and got back to my place around 3am - and we all crashed as it had been a long day for all of us.
I hope that everyone reading this had a warm and wonderful New Year and that 2006 brings you all that life has to offer.