Dec 30, 2018
On the small island where I live in the middle of Japan's Seto Inland Sea, new year celebrations are stalwart traditional. Preparations start a week before when the holiday spirit wafts in on sea breezes tinted with chilling temperatures. The island holds a community rice-pounding event to make kagami mochi adornments for inside our homes and a few businesses set out classic kadomatsu displays — bamboo and pine branches engaged with a shimenawa rope — outside their doors.
Dec 29, 2017
The first sunrise of the new year represents a chance for a new beginning and so it's hardly surprising that some once viewed the first rays of the sun on Jan. 1 with special reverence. It was believed to be the moment that Toshigami, god of the new year, descends from heaven and bestows happiness on all the common folk below for the year ahead.