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！
Generated by Flickr Album Maker