“Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu.” That’s the New Year Greeting in Japan, where it’s already tomorrow relative to California.
Until about 140 years ago, Japan observed the New Year based on the Chinese lunar calendar. During the Meiji Restoration in 1873, Japan converted to the Gregorian calender in order to align itself with Western practices.
They switched the time of year for ringing in the New Year, but they still observe the traditional Japanese customs of bell ringing at Buddhist temples, eating mochi, distributing cash money gifts to children, and rising early for hatsuhinode — viewing the first sunrise of the year, typically from a mountaintop or from a bluff on the Pacific coast of Japan. Shinto shrines are also packed on New Year’s Even for hatsumode – the first shrine visit of the year.
Happy New Year and my wishes for a wonderful 2013 for all of you. Be sure to watch for the China Airlines float during the Rose Bowl Parade, which will feature cyclists riding around the float courtesy of Giant Bikes.
In the meantime, here’s a cute cartoon I filched from Treadly and Me’s Tumblr.