New Years Shishimai

2013 is upon us and after I a non-eventful New Years Eve, 2 and 4 year olds need their sleep, I headed out on the 1st to see if I might find local images at the temples.  New Years and New Years Day are arguably the most important holiday in Japan, though you might think otherwise if you have ever tried to drive during golden week, so I went feature hunting.  Unfortunately, the local temples here in Fussa don't see the two million visitors that Meiji Shrine sees on the first day of the year.  Knowing I could not make a trip to the city I thought I might find a quiet image locally as people made their important trips to get their Omikuji (years fortune) or make their first prayer.  After my third visit to a temple and still nothing impressive I heard drumming in the distance and headed off to find the source.

Instead of temple imagery I found a Shishimai ceremony going from house to house driving out evil spirits with lion dances.  I am told this is a rare site in cities these days, I was just happy to have found something to play with.  I only caught their last three houses and never quite caught the quintessential lion image I wanted.  Imagery aside, I love the idea of waking on the first day of the year to the sound of drums and flutes and a lion costume undulating and chomping his wooden jaws in my home or business consuming evil spirits in the air or even nibbling them off of me.

I did not make resolutions this year.   It is going to be a big year for my family and business as we prepare to move and start another chapter of adventures and images but whatever the year brings I am happy to have had it ushered in by a lion dance and the sound of early morning japanese drums.

Good Luck to all of you in 2013,  it should be amazing!