On the morning of the 31st, we caught the train from our house to Shiodome Station. The first thing that struck me when we entered the elevated walkway which would take us to the hotel was that there was no one, and I mean no one around...it was seriously eerie. But once we exited on the 25th floor of our hotel, I was relieved when I saw living, breathing human beings and I was assured that we were not in a scene from "I am Legend" or "The Walking Dead." After dinner, and in keeping with Japanese tradition, the four of us headed to Zojo-Ji Temple in the Shiba area of Tokyo. I learned from Lori that it is tradition to go to a temple for the countdown to midnight, and that at midnight, everyone releases balloons with their thoughts and wishes for the year. Zojo-Ji Temple is a popular spot for New Years and is frequently referred to in news articles and reports describing how people from various countries celebrated the new year. We heard that last year, 10,000 people were at Zojo-Ji Temple to ring in the new year.
|Enjoying our chu-his on the street|
|In front of the Seiko Clock at the temple gate|
At 10:50, yes 10:50, the guys went in search of a bathroom. At first, Lori and I kept ourselves occupied by chatting and catching up, but as it got closer to midnight with no Rich and Eric in sight, we silently seethed thinking to ourselves they BETTER be back by midnight. At 11:40, I got a text from my husband saying "No way to get through. I Love You." In disbelief (and when I say disbelief, I mean we didn't believe they couldn't make it through), Lori and I counted down the new year together and watched in awe as thousands of balloons with wishes attached to them were released at midnight. Shortly thereafter, we tried to make our way to the exit. After being pushed, shoved, unintentionally groped, and literally riding a wave of people to get back to the gate, we acknowledged that perhaps we did believe that Rich and Eric couldn't make it through all the people. All in all, it was a great time and something I'm glad I got to experience!
|Happy New Year!!!|
2011 was a year of big changes for me - I got married, I moved to another country and I took a leave of absence (well for now anyway) from a career/profession which, including school, I've been involved in for the past eleven years. While I don't foresee as many big changes this year, I am hopeful that 2012 is going to be a great year too!