New Year’s Eve at Nitta Jinja

December 31, 2011

I’d spent the evening calibrating the telescope and making everything worked, so Hayamizu-san took me to the local shrine for a New Year’s Eve celebration.  The Nitta shrine (Jinja) was in honor of turtles and required climbing up several flights of steps on a hillside to the top.  Over 650 years old, this Shinto shrine and its 700-year-old tree had survived lightning strikes and World War II bombings.

Throwing coins was part of the tradition for ringing in the new year.

I could never get over how commercialized shrines were in Japan; so much merchandize to buy to provide luck.  It was the year of the dragon, so numerous charms featured dragons for the year and turtles for the shrine.  We purchased fortunes; I only got 2/5 on the luck scale, while Hayamizu-san got 4/5.  He traded me.

This group of rather boisterous boys was insistent that I take their photo with Hayamizu-san.  こんばんは!

More good luck charms and trinkets.

After the clock struck 2012, we went down the hillside, past food vendors selling corn on the cob, tako yaki (octopus on a stick), and other carnival treats.

Happy New Year from 日本!

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