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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Year of the Dog

2006, and welcome to the year of the dog!

Around here, that means New Year's wreathes everywhere. Dig that tasty looking shrimp.

Even Champ (our car) got his own lil' wreath.

It also means a midnight return to the Hachimon shrine, where earlier in the day we gave our souls a good scrubbing (see previous post).

Which was very crowded.

At the top of the stairs, we tossed our 100 yen pieces, clapped twice and prayed for the new year. Actually, I'm not a big fan of religion (could you tell?), but I took this opportunity to wish for a healthy recovery for my Uncle Fred, whose just undergone major cardiac surgery. The Shinto priests sang in their beautiful, eerie, warbling voices and waved tree branches about. Inside the shrine acolytes performed various tasks. We then stopped on the way back home at the foot of the shrine to buy some nice sweet, warm amezake (sweet unfiltered sake) for the frigid walk home.

Nico was suitably impressed by it all.