Last night or early this morning as your timepiece dictates, my husband and I left the house as the clock struck twelve and rode our bicycles to the local Shinto Shrine near where we live, in Japan. We tossed a few coins into the box, clapped our cold hands and bent our heads in a few moments of reflection and well wishes for the new year. Then some friends of the priest, who was performing new year ceremonies inside the shrine in a beautiful purple vestment, handed us a paper cup of amasake, a hot sake and boiled rice drink. Everyone was drinking it, warming their hands and their tummy’s while ice sheets floated in the flower pots. We waited for a large extended family with lots of kids to cycle through the tiny staircase up to the large shrine bell and then took turns ringing in the new year ourselves. The tone of the bell followed us all the way home, a deep full mellow sound. We crawled under the covers on our futon where the electric blanket had been preparing the sheets for our arrival and fell asleep.
Not exactly the new year our families were having back in the U.S., but a satisfying and cozy one nonetheless. Here’s to hoping you are sitting somewhere warm and dry if you’re in the northern hemisphere and enjoying your summer if you’re in the southern hemisphere. And while you’re at it enjoy a good book!
Here’s a few I’m looking forward to reading in 2014.
– A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin.
Yes, I know. I’m very behind the times. It’s not on my iPhone, so it’s getting read slowly.
– The Prince of Ravens by Hal Emerson.
I just picked this up on my kindle and the first two chapters have definitely engaged my interest. New author for me. I’m sure you’ll see my review on Goodreads soon enough.
And just to make this a trio, because I know there’s so much more to read…
– Unicorn Western Full Saga by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.
I recently read the first episode in this and definitely fell for the snappy humor and fresh take on westerns. It made me think of Blazing Saddles but with unicorns and magic. I’ve actually watched that movie twice. Surprise! So I’ll be back for more, most definitely.
Best wishes everyone!