Saturday, January 1, 2005

Happy New Year!

Some of you in the States haven't reached your new year yet, and I don't want to give it away, but 2005 is pretty great. I'll leave it at that.

So this is the biggest holiday for the Japanese. On the 31st it is tradition to eat soba noodles to symbolize the wish for a long life. The only noodles I had in the house were Top Ramen. No offense to the food that got me through four years of college, but I think that stuff is more likely to shorten your life than lengthen it. After the soba, they head to the temples at midnight to perform joya no kane, or the ringing of the temple bell 108 times. This is supposed to purify the soul, removing the 108 worldly desires of humans, and get you ready to slide into the new year nice and pure.

The coolest thing is that people send nengajo, or holiday postcards, to each other the last few weeks of December, and the post office sorts and holds them (slightly labor intensive) (and can't you just see the US Post Office doing this?) until early on the morning of January 1, and then delivers them all at once. Most families send and receive hundreds of nengajo (you send them basically to every person and business contact that you've ever met), but I'm usually still tuckered out from 40 or 50 Christmas cards, so I buy nengajo, but never end up sending them. Well, I was so excited to get two this morning! One is from my friend Kayo, and one from my neighbor Mai-chan, who is nine. They have fun messages and pictures and drawings on them. They usually include a picture of the animal that represents the year, and this is definitely the year of the chicken/hen/bird/whatever.

No pressure, but what you dream about tonight kind of sets the course for your entire year. Your hatsuyume, or dream, should be about one of the following three things (in this order): Mt. Fuji, hawks or eggplants. All of those will bring good luck. I wonder what dreams about the Bank will bring me in 2005.

I'm a little late making my resolutions this year. I'm definitely a resolutions kind of girl (it's in the Type-A code of conduct) and I usually have lists by now. I'll work on that tonight. I'd love to hear what other people's resolutions are.

So Happy New Year! Here's hoping for PEACE in 2005.

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