Saturday, January 2, 2010

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

Kotoshimo Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu! Happy New Years! It is now Heisei 22 and the Year of the Tiger. I hope that everyone had a safe and wonderful New Years celebration. We sure did in the heart of LA's Little Tokyo. This was our first year attending both the year end service and the New Years Day service at the Koyasan Buddhist Temple as well as a day marking one year of continuious attendance there. I had volunteered to arrive early to help out and as difficult as it was to negotiate my hangover from the previous night out with friends it was well worth the effort. I had never seen so many people at the Temple before. The energy was like nothing else. People participated in celebrating those born in the Year of the Tiger including the mother of one of the senior members of the Temple board who turned 100 that day. Imagine that! To have been born in Taisho's time and being witness to so much change. I personally wished her a happy new years and the wish for many more. Everyone applauded her longevity and celebrated with the traditional sake toast and the very joyous Bonzai cheers. It was truly the most memorable time I have had there despite being so sick from drinking kamikaze's & champagne. Afterwards we were treated to a sushi lunch for helping out. There were still many people pouring into the Koyasan Temple to make offerings. Many of which were also seeking New Years Blessings and lucky arrows to dispell misfortune. After the year I had in 2009, I take no chances!

I am happy to have participated in this event after which we stuck around in Japanese Plaza just to absorb all the positive energy from the multitude of people enjoying the outdoor Japanese performances. The vibe in the air was truly electric if not magical. New years is definately my favorite holiday. Halloween has too much preassure to have fun, christmas conjures up bad memories, but New Years for me is like nothing else. I can only imagine as my friend Ikeda says I have to really experience this in Japan. Well until that can happen Little Tokyo is where it's at. It was great to see so many people in Kimono as well as the few brave Americans who did went in traditional Japanese attire. I am kicking myself for not going that extra mile but at least I can say I was there. We'll make sure to go all out next year. I gurantee!

Halfway around the world in Japan, Emperor Akihito offered his new years greetings. He acknowledged that for many like myself that 2009 had been difficult year due to the deep economic crisis. He wished the world happiness and peace and that this year be good for all of us. I certainly will do my best. I hope to aquire some work so I can continue to write and one day have my books published as well as a screen play or two. I look forward to another year training under the Obata Sensei's in Shinkendo, Continued correspondence with the Tsubaki Grand Shrine, and continued comunity with the people in both the Koyasan Temple and Little Tokyo. I will do my best to continue learning Japanese and become friends to many both old and new. Japan is still a world away but for now my heart lies in Little Tokyo. May everyone have a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year!

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