Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

Happy New Year, everyone!  I cannot believe it's 2014.  Is it just me, or does it seem like time is going by so much faster?

We spent the first day of the New Year visiting the Hokkaido Shrine and then going over to a friend's house to eat the traditional New Year osechi.  This is the third year that we've been invited to this family's home, and although we don't really see them any other time of the year, they always welcome us in as if we're an extended part of their family.  We eat and talk (it's great Japanese practice for me), as the grandpa of the home continues to pour me drink after drink.  Later, we played some games and watched TV.  When Grandpa found out that Ethan studies shoudo (Japanese calligraphy), he got out his own calligraphy set.  In Japan, there are many "firsts" that you want to experience on the first day of the year - the first sunrise, recording your first dream, your first visit to the local shrine.  There's also the tradition of writing the first calligraphy of the year, in which you write your hopes for the new year or a phrase you want to remember.  Ethan's, on the right, says "Bright Future", and mine on the left says, "Always Smiling".  I think those are two pretty good phrases to remember for this coming year!

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