The New Year

The new year started well. On the last working day of 2009 one of my collegues invited me to his parents house for new years dinner. I was a bit surprised since we had not been talking all that much at work, but I was really happy to enjoy a real traditional Japanese new year celebration and his family was really nice. Right before the dinner we tried to visit the Meiji shrine, which apparently several millions of people visit during the three first day of the year. However, when realizing that the long queue to the shrine would take 80 minutes to get through we gave up. They told me that for Japanese people waiting in a long queue makes the sensation stronger when finally arriving to the shrine, but for western people it just leads to annoyance and tiredness. It was quite interesting to see all those people though.

The first gate into the shrine.

This picture made me realize how tall I actually am in this country

Barrels full of sake. Empty since long time ago.

This wine was given as a gift from France during the Meiji period (1868 - 1912) to strengthen the relationship between the countries

Considering what happened after I guess they simply did not like the wine. Maybe it was too strong for the Japanese.

Eating traditional Japanese new year food

Oishii!

Home maid sushi is the best sushi

Desert

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Yes, since I now live eight hours in the future I am already in the year of 2010, a year that began well at the Jizo In tempel in Fujimino-shi. It was a nice and calm experience, a perfect substitute to the drunk and regretful Swedish new year parties. The end of 2009 was not as good though. We had planned a nice trip to Nihonji Temple in Chiba prefecture but came too late to do and see anything good like what is shown on this site where a stone statue of Buddha, about 30 meter in height which is more than twice the size of the one in Kamakura that I have pictures of but have not uploaded yet O_o. Well I will upload pictures of everything tomorrow.

The scary entrance of the mighty Jizoin Temple

The people hitting the bell will have a wish granted.

The line for the praying

Christmas in Japan

Evil Santa

Evil Santa

Christmas in Japan…feels like nothing but still something. You go to work as usual, just after a holiday in the middle of the week to celebrate the emperors birthday. My collegues had told me that they usually try to finish their work early so they can go home to their familys, yet I was the only person leaving on time. There are a lot of illuminations in Tokyo at the moment. Not all of them are just for Christmas, some are just to celebrate the year, but most of them seem to be. They are everywhere, some are more pompous than others and can even give some kind of show to it. What about the food then? Well, like I already mentioned the common rule seems to be to take your girlfriend to KFC. We tried that, but the queues where a bit too long. The funny thing is that there was something similar to KFC on the other side of the street, where they also sold fried chicken. Their employees where shouting with their best throats in order to get some customers, but it was for no use. For us it all ended with McDonalds. Merry Christmas!

Girlfriend arrives

So my girlfriend finally arrived, after a lot of truble with all the flights being late. Finally when she arrived some fuss and confusion made her miss the last train from the airport. Bummer! She had to spend the night there. Well, now she is finally here, sleeping and recovering. The correct timing for Christmas that supposedly is taken place tomorrow. It really feels like any other day, and somehow it is like that here. People are working and apparently you are supposed to take your girl out to Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, on that special day.

A Real Earthquake

Apparently there was an earthquake here in the end of last week. A real one! It is a bummer that I missed it. I was asleep (>_<). So far I had not experienced any. It seems like this autumn has been quite calm.