I have to be careful now for more than one reason. This event at Uesugi Shrine will attract thousands of people, and many of them are lining up to be among the first to enter the shrine and make their prayers for the new year. With all these people trampling the snow on the paths, it has become very icy and slippery. So with a little sake in my tummy, the danger of a broken neck (or a bruised butt) is very real. And, I have to have a clear head when I see any of my students, such as these girls here.
The visitors to the shrine receive a fortune on a piece of paper, and after reading them, tie them to the branches of nearby trees. Someone once told me that if it was a bad fortune and you tied it to a tree, it would not come true. But somebody else told me that if it was a good fortune and you tied it to a tree, it would come true. I once asked a knowledgeable tour guide what was up with that, and he said, "That is a tourist story." He evaded my question deftly, so maybe it is some kind of big secret. I played it safe and did not get a fortune, and instead took these photos.

Next: It's getting cold!

A Japanese New Year

Copyright © 1999 by Ed Kaspar
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