A few photos of the celebrations today in Kamakura
to help ring in the New Year!
I've gotten accustomed to the rituals of the Japanese
new year. On Dec. 30, you go shopping for the week
ahead, since most stores close during the first few days
of January. The 31st you clean the house. On New
Year's Eve you eat noodles to have a long, healthy life.
Some people go the shrine after midnight and stay
to watch the first sunrise of the year. Some people like
us go to bed after midnight, to the sound of the 108 bells
ringing the 108 Buddhist desires that need to be cleansed.
The next morning you go to the shrine to get your lottery
fortune, which you read on the spot.
Below are photos taken on our annual visit to Hachimangu,
the Shinto shrine that overlooks Kamakura City.
We walked back to Kamakura Station and noticed
the crowds were thinner than usual. Every New Year's
Day the streets and shrine grounds are usually jam-
packed, but this year--the photo below notwithstanding
-- it seemed less crowded.
To help say goodbye, then, to 2012, here are a few lines
from Walt Whitman:
"O living always, always dying!
O the burials of me past and present,
O me while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever;
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not, I am
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn
and look at where I cast them,
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses
The last picture below, of Mt. Fuji, taken from the top
of the hill near our house, is added for good luck to help
welcome in 2013.