Take the bull by the horns: Year of the Ox here we come!
Dressed to the nine(s), good heavens, it’s 2009!
Maybe we should make that an unequivocal あけ・おめ こと・よろ type of thing between friends.
To the sacreligious, a slight cringe if you want to be sacked from sticking religiously to J-culture too much. Just a mere abbreviation of 「あけましておめでとうございます」and「今年も宜しくお願いします」, it’s so deliciously tempting to let rip with the 「あけ・おめ こと・よろ」thing just to see all the squirms. Especially on 年賀状, the Japanese equivalent of a Crimble card, but meant only for New Year and taken waaay more seriously. It’s not uncommon to receive a bundle of over a hundred of the things on New Year’s Day, even if it’s from someone you only say hi to once a year, namely New Year. Call it 義理 (obligation), call it 和 (Japanese harmony spirit), call it what you want, it’s all rather sweet and becoming. Incidently, I proudly received three.
Wanting to seize the essence of the 和 to the hilt I plumped for a New Year’s Eve in Kyoto. Not just because it’s usually freezing as Frosty the Snowman’s armpits, but because I wanted to stay up all night and be naughty.
It wasn’t even planned. We’d finished our sushi (see what I mean about 和 spirit?!) and felt like it was the right thing to do (see what I mean about 義理?!), so off we trotted (yes, it WAS cold!) to the epicentre of all Japanese New Year celebrations that is Kiyomizu Temple. Considering it was, like, 1am you would have thought it was a post-afternoon-tea-on-Sunday conspiracy.
People. PEOPLE. Everywhere. At every turn. D i z z y. D I Z Z Y.
But all rather glorious, in fact. Not to mention the ringing of the monstrous temple bell 108 times at earth-shattering volume to banquish all of our 108 earthly desires. I think I might have some more if I count carefully enough. Those poor monks would’ve been there a lot longer, they should count their blessings.
And if you like soba noodles, no problem whatsoever. They were flogging them until they saw the light of day, literally.
And thus, in was beckoned Year of the Ox. Happy 2009 yo.