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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - happy New Year: 'Akemashite omedetou!' / 1 January 2015

Another version of Kadomatsu, this smaller one has the traditional pine branches and the three bamboo stems wrapped in straw that gives the image of a bucket or pot with a straw mat. An orange and 'corn doily' are attached. This pair of Kadomatsu ste outs

For an end to austerity, an end to the killing years.

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Our New Year shellfish made disturbing flips and wriggles on its way to the pot. Homemade sushi, slices of raw fish, scallops, sea urchin and salad completed our meal. There was hardly room for the soba just before midnight. We had symbolic portions.

Even so it was hard to think about sleeping. I dozed and woke in time to watch the day dawning.
Actual sunrise is not visible from the apartment, but dawn sky is frequently glorious.

Today's blue sky sinks into clouds of gold that darken behind the white and glass skyscrapers masking the horizon. 

Food today is mostly traditional Japanese style which means we cooked the rice-bread New Year 'decorations' for our breakfast.
The weather forecast offers a 50% chance of snow here in Tokyo; elsewhere in Japan snow is already thick and skiable.

We wrap up warmly for an initial attempt to visit the local shrine to make our New Year hopes known beyond the prison of our own human boundaries. The length of the queue puts several people off, us included, and we wander back home through a light sprinkle of snow. The day has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere.

Almost choking on good-luck rice-bread
I ponder my chances of drowning
in luck. The rice bread, cooked, in a sweet
red bean soupiness, begins a slither 
down my throat, then comes to a halt
blocking my airways. Momentary
panic, dissipated with eventual
breath, is just the kind of event to 
trigger thoughts of time, life and purpose
in keeping with the desire to
be a truer kind of me, riskier;
and maybe I could learn to like it,
to be at some kind of peace
with my own unknown; less influenced
by the experience of being
judged and pushed to margins
I never imagined outside fiction.