Monday, January 7, 2008
Happy New Year!
My preparations for New Years started in early December. In Japan, it's customary to send out nengajo for New Years. Nengajo are New Year's post cards that have lottery numbers on the back. Like Christmas cards in the States, you send them to relatives, friends, co workers, etc. I wanted to send some to all my teachers and friAlign Centerends, but just ended up sending some to all my principles and vice principles, the 3 elementary school JTEs that I know, and my supervisor and head of the BOE. I also sent the extra I had to some of my friends. I didn't send them out to everyone because it was difficult trying to figure out all the addresses and in the end it worked out because writing out all those addresses in kanji took me forever! The nengajo are all delivered on the 1st and many of the cards this year had a rat them as 2008 is a rat year. Anyway, it's also customary that if you receive a nengajo on the 1st from someone you didn't send a nengajo to, you should send them one before the 6th or so in response. So, I know have several nengajo! Now, I'm just waiting for the Japan Post to put up the list of winning lottery numbers to see if I won anything!

For New Years Eve itself, I was in Tokyo. The plan was to hit up a temple with Janet, but she ended up getting really sick, so I ventured out on my own. I actually ended up going to Meiji jinku, a big temple in Harajuku that I've walked by several times, but never actually been to. It was quite an experience. The line was really long and I ended up ringing in the new year in lines with thousands of other people, next to a wall of sake containers. Eventually, I made it to the temple, made my wish for a prosperous new year, and then headed over to where the party was happening. The temple itself was just so-so, but once you finally get through the line to get in and leave, they have a bunch of tents set up all festival style. There's a ton of food and various good luck charms and rat related items. I ended up pick up a fancy decorated arrow that's supposed to be some protection from evil charm and a cute Hello Kitty dressed as a rat cell phone charm.

New Years day, I went to another temple in Tokyo, the one is Asakusa, and had pretty much the same experience. Waited in the really long line, saw the temple, and then went to the festival area for some good food and interesting trinkets. I picked up another arrow too. I decided that collecting new years arrows in going to be my thing, because I really like them and I can hang them on my wall unlike the ceramic statue knickknacks. I also picked up some fortunes related to my birthday, but don't know what they say!

Happy New Year everyone!

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