January 30, 2012
Tatiana's New year report
New Years in Japan is different from New Years at home. In Japan it is a holiday when families get together to celebrate, while in France most families do that in Christmas, and prefer to spend the New Year﹊s eve with their friends.
Since I don﹊t have my own family or a host family in Japan, I met some friends from France and we had a small party at their house. At midnight, we went to Meiji Jingu Shrine for hatsumode, the first visit of the year. France is not a Buddhist or Shinto country, so no-one does that at home.
We were at the shrine early but we still had to wait one hour in the cold weather to finally accede to the main part of the shrine where people can make their prayers. The waiting line was neatly organized, in a very Japanese fashion, with policemen holding signs that said ﹍Walk﹎ and ﹍Stop﹎ to control the crowd and avoid having everyone rushing to the front gates. Afterwards, we went to buy some omikuji; fortunes for the year. I got a ﹍very lucky﹎ one, so I hope I will have a very good year!﹛
On the next day, the 1st of January, I received some New Years cards. These are also something we don﹊t have back at home, but we send Christmas cards, which are basically the same except we send them a week earlier.