First New Year’s in Japan

Dear Virtual Diary,

My first New Years in Japan was enlightening and very enjoyable.

My New Year’s included five major events:

My brother’s arrival to Japan. He arrived on December 29th and we reunited on December 30th. It is nice to have a family around.

新年会 (New Year’s Japanese Party/BBQ):

The cover photo was the back drop for our BBQ as we sat, ate, drank and conversed about everything and anything. The beef was rich and the beers were cold. We all then pass out on the floor watching the New Year’s boxing match.

初日の出 (First Sun Rise):

Hiked up Hiyama mountain and watched the first sun rise of 2017 and I now have the urge to watch all future first sun rises of the year where ever I am. I watched the sun rise above the clouds while my mind focused on nothing but the sun. No thoughts of the future, no thoughts of those around me, all focus on the fiery golden sun.

桂浜温泉 (Onsen bath house):

After the hike up Hiyama, I received a ticket for free entry at Katsuragahama’s onsen. It was my first time in the onsen during winter and it felt great.  Going to the bath house is probably one of the best ways I relax in japan.

神社に行った (Shrine Visit):

This wasn’t my first time to a shrine, in Japan, but it was my first time to a shrine during New Years. I sat on a chair in the main room of the shrine and in front of me were fresh vegetables and large bottles of Japanese sake. My understanding is that these vegetables and sake are offerings to Kami-sama (God).