Sunday, 2 January 2011

Open House - Imperial Palace & Meiji Jingu

Most days it was extremely difficult getting up before midday. Some days it was something crazy like 2:30pm. With the constant rain around my hometown I would've probably slept most days there too. An expensive sleep!

Since I was hanging around Tokyo this year, I thought I should experience what Japanese people do this time of year.

It was WAY too cold to go to a shrine to ring a bell on New Year's Eve, so instead why don't we go to the most fricken busy shrine there is, Meiji Jingu instead! While we were at it, the Emperor opens the Imperial Palace to greet everyone a happy new year.
I expected the Palace area to look a bit more lavish. They gave us all paper Japanese flags, and once the royal family came out everyone waved theirs excitedly while yelling out, "Banzai!" They had sessions almost hourly throughout the day. It was crowded, but not as much as I expected. I enjoyed getting frisked by the female security. What was that bulge in my pocket? My wallet :(

There're plenty of shrines to welcome in the New Year, but it seems like the whole population of Tokyo chooses Meiji Jingu. I realized it's been three and a half years since I've was here last. Wow. Time has passed so quickly!

During this time I had mochi (rice cakes). I'm pretty sure I've had it before, but it's a traditional thing to have to welcome in the new year. It's also tradition for many people to die choking, eating the sticky cakes. This year's toll was six. A not so happy new year to them. It's also year of the rabbit. I'm hoping with that, certain areas of my life pick up a little.

Giddy up!