Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Finished

The Japanese New Year (Oshogatsu 正月) has come and gone. It was my first New Year in Japan and it was definitely an interesting one. On New Years Eve, I went hiking on Mt. Ikoma 生駒山 in Osaka with a new friend, Andrew. He's been in Japan for quite some time and a seasoned Mt. Ikoma veteran. He showed me a really good hike. We started on the Osaka side of the mountain and came down the other side in Nara Prefecture.

New Years day saw me visiting Nishinomiya Shrine 西宮神社 in the city of Nishinomiya. We went there to for Hatsumode 初詣. Hatsumode is the first visit of the year to the shrine for Japanese people. Many go there after midnight on January 1st and if not, they go during the daytime on the 1st. People offer money to the shrine, pray and often get their fortune.

Here's a quick little unedited video of my Hatsumode trip to Nishinomiya Shrine on the afternoon of January 1st.

Hatsumode 初詣 Nishinomiya Shrine

Here's another very cool perspective on Hatsumode. Elevencolors, a Japanese based vlogger, who lives in Tokyo went to Hatsumode at the Meiji Shrine 明治神宮 in downtown Tokyo after midnight on New Years. He stood in line for hours. The crowds here are HUGE!

初詣 ~ Hatsumode

So, my holidays are about to come to an end. 3 weeks of blissful "not working" are about to all fall apart on Monday morning as I head back to school. My first New Year in Japan was a wonderful learning experience and a great chance to learn about my new family and their culture. All very cool stuff...well, not about having to go back to work!

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