A new year in a new country, man, I never thought I'd ever say that! The boys and I had a pretty low-key New Years Eve celebration. We played Just Dance, and had a Studio Ghibli movie marathon until midnight. New Year's morning we slept in pretty late, so much so that we missed breakfast, so we decided to go backwards and eat lunch and then breakfast for dinner, it was just a backwards kind of day. The rest of the day was spent lounging around the house, since most stores are shut down for the day. New Year's Day is an important holiday for Japanese, and certain foods and drink are taken throughout the day. Children are also given money, just like during Chinese New Year (but don't tell Ethan!) We started feeling a little cabin-feverish today, so after getting groceries, we headed out to the Hokkaido Shinto Shrine. It's traditional for Japanese to pay a visit to their shrine during one of the first three days of the new year, so we thought it'd be interesting the check it out.
The entrance to the shrine had this huge rope with paper hanging down. This means this is a holy place to the Japanese.
Me and Ethan in front of the Shrine. People were lining up in front of the doors of the shrine, throwing a 5 yen coin at the entrance, and then saying a prayer. There was also something going on inside, but I'm not sure what it was.
In the pine trees surrounding the shrine, people had tied what I believe are their wishes or prayers for the new year on the branches.
This was another smaller shrine on the grounds. There weren't as many people here, I wonder what it's for exactly?
After that we walked around Odori Park and looked at the Christmas lights in the park one last time before they take them down. It's still pretty snowy and icy around, with lots of big snow hills from the plows. Ethan couldn't help but check one out next to our apartment.
So I guess this is the part of the blog where I should be reflective and talk about what a great year 2010 was, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, it was a great year, with lots of HUGE changes. I mean, we moved to another country, for goodness sake! It's hard to believe that we've been here now for 5 months, and just to let everyone know, I've re-contracted for another year, so we'll be staying 2 years in Sapporo!! I just couldn't help it, after talking with Nathan, we decided that this first year in Japan has just gone too fast, and we're settling in so well. There's so many more things we want to experience, and another year just seemed like the right thing to do. There's no doubt that the last 5 months have been some of the best times of my life, and I think this year is going to be even better.
I'm not one for resolutions, because I never keep them. But I do have some GOALS for myself in 2011:
- Have a conversation in Japanese
- Get back in touch with my crafty side, like start knitting again.
- Set aside time to connect with Ethan and Nathan. More hugs all around!!
- Set up a garden in the summer on my balcony
I don't think these goals will be too hard to accomplish! So goodbye 2010, nice knowing ya, and can't wait to see what 2011 has in store!