Ushering in 2015 the Japanese way

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Once again I find myself in Japan on the last day of another year. I was expecting to leave Japan some time around Christmas before I received another request to extend my assignment here to end of May 2015.

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This year I ushered in the new year at Sumiyoshi Shrine in Fukuoka . It’s a smaller shrine compared to the one I visited last year (Gokokuji Shrine in Hiroshima). When I arrived at 11:30pm, the queue to the shrine was still quite short so I quickly slipped my way in. It didn’t take long after midnight before I got to the front of the shrine for the first prayer of the year.

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After that, I explored around the shrine grounds getting myself an omikuji (it’s something like a fortune cookie but without the cookie) and some supper from one of the food stalls. All the while, people continued to pour in that by the time I left, the prayer queue has swelled all the way outside the shrine beyond the torii gate.

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I wonder if the queue keeps going all night long. I wasn’t keen on staying around to find out though since it was a windy, chilly night.

How did you usher in 2015? Here’s wishing everyone a happy and fruitful year ahead!

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7 thoughts on “Ushering in 2015 the Japanese way

  1. Very interesting, Vincent. I’d guess that the queue continues well into the next day as people make their way there after more modern celebrations.

    Another 5 months? No doubt there’s much more that you want to see and do before you leave.

    • Indeed, I think you are right about the overnight queuing Draco. Apparently, the shrine that receives the most visitors for the new year is the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo with an estimated 3 million people over the first few days of the new year.

      Yep, there’s so much more that I want to see and do. I tend to make plans but fail to follow through with them sometimes due to the weather (winter is not my element) but mostly due to my own laziness. With 5 months left, hopefully I’ll be more motivated to get out of the house!

  2. Nice! You have an extension till next year so you can spend more time in Japan! 🙂

    I wish I was living and working in Japan, the culture is so different and everything you do and post about looks so interesting!

    What are the stalls in the shrine selling? Yakitori?

    Beautiful, amazing photos as usual buddy!

  3. I really envy you for having the good fate to work and have fun in Japan. I would love that too!!
    After May, they will extended again hopefully till 2016!
    The row of stalls selling barbequed meat is definitely a welcome sight in the chilly weather. I enjoyed seeing and eating them in a park at Hakata.

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