December 28, 2006

Makin the rounds

Gearing up for new years here in the land of Lilliput, as I lovingly, derogatoryingly call my adopted home away from home, is one of the highlights of a year gone old.
I finished up work yesterday and closed up the school for the duration, but I realised on my way home that I forgot to shut off the water lines so I have to head back later on today to finish up what was supposed to be taken care of yesterday.
Here in Japan New Years tends to be a helluva lot more sedate than back in the rotten core of the big apple where I was raised. I don't mind the differences and in fact in some ways they suit me better as I approach middle age.

On a typical new years morning after praying to the house deities and imbibing a few cups of hangover helper, I trudge through a frozen countryside and halfway up a mountain to offer prayers and requests for prosperity at the local shrine that oversees the community. Japan is mostly Shinto on new years and there are many gods contending for favor. I always choose Hachiman and if I were to compare him to a western figure it would have to be Mars, the god of war. You can click on the links to learn a little more about Japan, but of course that won't give you the whole picture. (neither will this post) If you aren't out partying at a club and you are spending time with your family you will probably have the Red and White song battle playing in the background which will be mostly ignored because you are swilling copious amounts of really good sake (not the stuff they sell abroad) and stuffing your face with sushi and other delicacies made just for the festivities.
At the stroke of midnight the champagne flows, just as it does all over the world and there are plenty of resolutions made. Most of them will be broken by morning and at some point after midnight, Soba (buckwheat noodles) is magically produced to ensure longevity.

For the more adventurous A hike up to the summit of a local mountain to greet the first rays of the sun is in order, but for the rest of us it's drinking till either you or the liquor runs out.

The eating and drinking continue for three days out in the countryside because there is absolutely nothing else to do except Pachinko, but Ive already talked about that in a previous post. Hope you all have a great time I know I will,



Scary Monster said...

Me will try to avoid destroying any buildings in yer area. Don't think that will be a problem cause Me be a big city dweller me self.

Hey! How's yer banana?
Happy new year. Oink Oink


Scary Monster said...

Me has made reference to you post in me blog. Me hopes you don't mind anwill come for a visit to see iffin me has done good.

The Grunt said...

Here's to Hachiman! NYD, you have a Happy New Year.

Izzy said...

Hi NYD...hope that all is well.

Have you made a new year's resolution this year?

It's interesting how different cultures celebrate the same holiday. It sounds much more peaceful in Japan then anywhere else.

Thankfully it's going to be a quiet one around my neck of the woods...

If you don't mind...give a little whisper to Hachiman for me when you visit the shrine... and ask to send his messenger my way with blessings for a new year full of health and happiness.

Take care... and Happy New Year NYD!

Bunches of hugs to you and your loved ones...


Drink More Jack said...

My kind of New Years! The photos above were fascinating. One of these days, I would like to visit the East.