I recall when I was a school child in America that school began quite abruptly close to the New Year. It seemed the year changed and suddenly everyone was back to work in a hung-over haze on January 2nd. Even as a child it seemed quick. Today the crowds were nearly as full as two days ago in Kyoto. In Japan, the beginning of the new year receives its time to be acknowledged. It feels far more natural. Of course, it's just another day, just a changing of arbitrary numbers that organize time. But it can also be a chance to reflect. Even in America, people take the opportunity to make New Year's resolutions, thinking about the previous year and what might be improved or desired in the coming one. Perhaps we could take a little more time to breathe in this arbitrary turning over, as the Japanese culture permits, allowing our desires for good fortune, good health, good living practice, to sink in a little further. Whether it is to some god or to ourselves, we can take advantage of this communal marker to aspire or reflect; with all the people of the world, we can wish for the better based on what we have learned from the past.
|within the gate, leading to the main buildings of the temple|
|vendors in the shadows of the temple buildings|
|more vendors and the main building of Nakayamadera|
burning of the old to make way for the new
|walking to and from the main temple buildings|
|the main gate|