This year, I enjoyed a Japanese style New Year celebration. My friend kindly invited me and another ALT to join her family for Oshougatsu. We did a homestay in Hakodate for 3 days and 2 nights. On the first night, we enjoyed some home cooked New Years food. It was very delicious! Once we had eaten plenty, we headed over to the shrine where my friend’s father is a member.
We prayed for the New Year, and shared the offerings to the gods of food and drink. I was excited to find out that the Priest’s wife was from Yakumo! Everyone there was very friendly, and the priest’s son offered us good luck tokens to keep with us in the new year. My token is for safe travels. We also got fortunes. I liked mine, so I kept it.
The next day we visited another shrine where we got bitten by the Shishi. There were so many people who came to the shine, so the atmosphere was very lively.
That night, we had a new year’s dinner with my friend’s family. There was so much food! Everyone was well fed and was of high spirits.
It was an exciting cultural experience for me, and I hope to have many experiences like this in the future.