Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Celebrating New Years in Japan

In place of returning to California to celebrate New Years with my family, I decided to save the 2,000$ plane ticket cost and tough out the holiday homesickness.  Fortunately, my host family and family friends in Anjo invited me to visit Anjo to celebrate the New Years with their family.

A New Years Feast with the Nobata Family.  
As good as it looks. 
Their beautiful Japanese-style home was designed by the late grandfather of the family.  

As the clock prepared to hit 12, we headed to a local shrine to make our first prayers of 2014.  This is a Japanese tradition done to renew one's relationship with the gods.  

Next to the shrine were booths handing out various Japanese New Years food and drinks to those who made their prayers.  Here volunteers are handing out sake donated to the shrine by the local community.

Azuki bean soup with mochi.  

We also went to visit a larger shrine in the area.  Here a large fire keeps people warm as they wait in line to make prayers.

The following morning I went to explore the city and was very happy to find that the JR Tokkaido Line runs right through Anjo.  
My obsessive love for bullet trains compelled me to spend the day following the track, climbing up apartment buildings, and bargaining my way onto station platforms for photo opportunities.  

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