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Hello, 2012

New Year 2012 Shrine Girl Selling Good Luck Amulets

Girl selling good luck and protection amulets at a local shrine

We had a shaky start of the year 2012 here in Japan, and quite literally so; there was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake today, the strongest we’d felt in months. Although there weren’t damages or warnings of tsunami, it came as a shock and a sore reminder of the catastrophe of last year, right at a time when the nation is trying its best to move forward and start anew.

2011 was unfortunately filled with disasters all over the world, one after another, and so my #1 wish for 2012 is for us all to have a safe year.

New Year 2012 Mochitsuki Japanese Mochi Pounding Ceremony

Mochitsuki mochi-pounding ceremony

Besides the quake, I would say I had quite a slow, relaxing, modest New Year Day. Unlike many Asian countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year, Japan celebrates its New Year on January 1st. And no, it’s not much about the count-down or hard partying; it’s to be spent with family and most return to their hometowns. Since Christmas is not a holiday in Japan, I’d say New Years is our Christmas. :D

Here are some New Year-related photos I took with my iPhone and camera.

New Year 2012 Japanese Shrine

Tiny local shrine

New Year 2012 Sashimi with 24 karat gold leaf

Sashimi with 24-karat gold leafs

New Year 2012 Japanese Shishimai Lion Dance

Japanese shishimai lion dance

The most surprising moment today was when I drew the best possible outcome, or daikichi, in omikuji fortune drawing at a local shrine, which means best luck in areas of money, health, love, career, etc. (I hope so!) The gold cat means “golden luck” (good luck with money) and business success. How very Asian. :)

New Year 2012 Omikuji Daikichi

Omikuji fortune drawing result  - daikichi! 

I used to always draw so-so or even not-so-good fortunes. I’d ask my grandfather, who is a Buddhist monk, whether that meant anything and he used to tell me not to worry, and that drawing less-than-great fortune means you have room and opportunities for growth.

New Year 2012 Shrine Japanese Omikuji Fortune Drawing

omikuji fortune drawing box at a local shrine

And yes, the best fortune comes with a warning to not do absolutely nothing just because of good fortune or it will backfire, and that being compassionate and giving is important when you are fortunate.

As for New Year resolutions? After following zenhabits.net for a while, I’m an advocate of going sans resolutions. Resolutions don’t stick, but habits do; so I am choosing instead to attempt to create 1 habit a month.

So for this month, I’ll make it a habit to photograph everyday, sharing taken photos optional.

Do you have any habits you’ll create in 2012?

I wish you all a peachy 2012! :D

7 Responses to Hello, 2012

  1. Happy new year! I’m not sure what kind of things I’ll try to do this year – I don’t like making resolutions, but I do try to evaluate things and make new goals. Haven’t gotten that far yet…oops. Already late to the new year! Haha.

  2. I love your photos! *Action Mochi Shot*

  3. I love your little insights into Japan! Its got such a beautiful culture and I love how it prevails even now. I’m so sorry to hear about the shaky start to the new year, but I’m glad to know it wasn’t too drastic and that you’re safe. Happy New Year Peach! May it be filled with peachy sweetness for you :D

  4. Happy New Year! I absolutely LOVE this post! Every year we would go to my friend’s family mochitsuki. We begin days before soaking the rice. My kids get real kick out of watching their daddy pounding the mochi rice with all his might. They also have lots of fun help rolling and shaping the mochi. Haha, that gold leaf sashimi matches my NYE mani. My husband’s grandparents were Tenrikyo missionaries sent to the US.

  5. Happy New Year Peach! I so love your blog. I really like to read about the nail stuff but I always love to read about your country and traditions over there.
    Good Luck in 2012, but I am sure you will have it due to the little luck charm (I so love that winky cat – that is what I always call it, sorry!)!
    I am loking forward to see some lovely Manis of yours!
    My habit will be: back to sports again… I used to be so sporty, haha, used to be! But this year I wanna start again with workouts.

  6. happy new year peach! am sure all will be well for you and Japan in 2012 ;)

  7. Happy New Year Peach! Thank you for sharing this post. I don’t make resolutions either, because I know I won’t stick to it. You are right about changing habits though. Here’s to cultivating good habits, little by little =) I will start with better sleeping habits so that I won’t wake up feeling groggy!

What say you?