Japan is ready for having the New Year!
How was the 2014 for you? In Japan, the New Year is really just around the corner and many people are waiting for joya no kane (除夜の鐘). Also every noodle shops are super busy deliverying toshikoshi soba (年越し蕎麦) for good luck.
In the last few days, Japan has changed completely from the Christmas illumination to the New Year decorations. Usually shime-kazari (しめ飾り) is hang at the entrance door to protect the house from the bad spirits and misfortunes.
Soon after the Christmas, any supermarket or the flower shops start selling shime-kazari and kadomatsu (門松), the bamboo decoration placed at the entrance of the house or the building.
This is the entrance of the building where many different companies inside.
They have a big magnificent kadomatsu. The New Year God can´t miss where to come down.
This is the entrance of our local supermarket, Daiei. With some very green pine brunches, which is considered as a lucky charm.
Recently, less people decorate the house fully but still most of the department stores, supermarket, banks or many shops make proper decorations.
Whereas normal houses have smaller ones. This is my parent´s house door. It used to be a little bigger with a daidai (橙/ bitter orange).
After I left home, only my parents stay home and the New Year is getting a less spectacular event for them. Hmm, I should go home for the New Year next year.
Of course, the cars get a mini shime-kazari.
My father no longer drive but my mother still buys one for his favourite car. I think it´s nice. The car is washed as well as the house and the streets.
My aunt and her husband own a small family factory and these are their decorations. There is a kagami-mochi (鏡餅) in the front.
All these decorations are ready by the 29th of December. Japanese people think it´s disrespectful for the New Year God to prepare the things just before he comes. It´s called ichiya kazari (一夜飾り), literary means "one night decoration". It´s believed to be good to prepare in advance. But this applies to anything in our life, isn´t it?
On the day of Oomisoka (大晦日/ the New Year´s Eve), everything is ready. Traditionally women stop cooking for the next few days. All the family get together around kotatsu (炬燵) and wait for the New Year to come.
How was your year? Good thing and bad things, all of them are part of you. All the bad luck you received during the year will be purified after 108 times of joya no kane. So now, just sit and enjoy the rest of the year with your family or your friends. See you in 2015!
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