A Happy New Year!
Let me introduce the Japanese New Year customs.
When Christmas is finished, we, Japanese, immediately begin preparations for welcoming the New Year.
These are big “ikebana” exhibitions in display windows of a department store.
These are “Kadomatsu” (pine tress decorating the gate in the Shogatsu).
Sake barrels (Sake barrels are stacked during celebration times in Japan).
Sometimes, the Japanese paper on which Japanese characters are written is also pasted on the door. (It says “Happy New Year.”)
Shimenawa (braided straw rope) is decorated on each office or house in Shogatsu.
Kagami-mochi (round rice cake) and ikebana are decorated in rooms.
January the first, all family members drink “Toso” (spiced sake, new year’s ceremonial sake), and have “Osechi-ryori” (food served during the New Year’s Holidays) and “Zoni” (soup with rice cakes) all together after waking up in the morning.
We go to Shinto shrine for “Hatsumode” after the morning meal. The shrine shown below is Kiyoshikojin Temple in Takarazuka-City, HYOGO.