Happy New Year everyone!

We hope that everyone had a relaxing and refreshing holiday break, and wish you good luck in the new year!

Taku and I enjoyed a reserved holiday break, opting not to do anything too extravagant but do our best to enjoy things around the town.

On New Year’s eve, we splurged on sashimi and watched the annual music special, Kouhaku Uta Gassen, until it was time to head out to the local shrines at midnight. We left a bit early, and the weather was pretty chilly, so we decided to stop by a local gay bar to wait until it was closer to midnight to line up. There we enjoyed some lively conversation with the bartender and the other staff, and the master made us toshikoshi soba, which are noodles eaten just before midnight that is said to symbolize living a long life. It’s also said that the tradition started because everyone is so busy cleaning the house and cooking a three day’s feast that noodles are just a quick, no fuss dish to make, but it’s a lot funner to think of the auspicious meaning, right?

Even though we arrived before midnight, it still took about an hour to get up to the shrine and say our prayers. But after the fact, I felt a great sense of relief and refreshment.

Here’s hoping that 2016 will be a tremendously successful year for everyone.

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