Friday, January 7, 2011

New Years!

In miraculous last minute fashion, following Christmas in Tokyo, I was invited by my RISD pal, Jenny, to spend New Years with her and her family way down in the Kyushu region of Japan, a speedy 5 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. It was probably the best reason to finally take a ride on the bullet train, I have never ridden on one before! I headed to a tiny town near the city of Kitakyushu, which is in the southern-most part of Japan.

After I got in, Jenny and I took a perfectly timed walk through the town and over a damn, right in time to experience the worst of a blizzard that was supposed to happen! While the rest of Japan, to the north, west, and even to the south, all got hammered with snow, it somehow missed us. 

The next day was New Years Eve, and following a night of good food with Jenny's wonderful family, nearing midnight we headed to a local shrine to say a prayer and then headed to the temple to ring a bell to bring us luck in the new year, as well as drink sake!

While waiting in line to ring the bell, midnight almost passed unnoticed! A big countdown didn't happen, but the festivities began shortly after!

I happen to catch midnight (00:00) on my cell phone! (Yes, my background is NYC... The sales guy at the cell phone store thought I would appreciate it).

Waiting in line. Behind Jenny is a huge bonfire!

Next up to ring in the new year!

There were a bunch of different hot foods served at the temple: hot chocolate, coffee, a bunch of different types of hot and cold sake, and a traditional sweet hot sake picture here, with rice still in it!

New Year's Day is a big day as well, I had an incredible and HUGE meal with Jenny and her family that went on all afternoon!
Also I tried this incredibly opulent new years sake, with bits of gold leaf in it!

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