Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy New Year, 2017

We had a fun few days welcoming in our last year in Japan.

Starting with...a New Year's Eve feast with friends!  Hot ham and cheese sandwiches, lil smokies, and  wonton wrapped fried cheese.  Oh, and a few veggies to balance out all the butter and grease :)

We made about 40 tight little turns to get to the top of
the garage and at about turn number 35 Kris remembered
there is an elevator, so we could have parked at the
bottom and ridden the elevator up.  
At around 11 we made our way to Daiei gate so we could walk out to Verny Park and join the HUGE crowd waiting to ring in the new year with fireworks.  However, we made a slight change this year...instead of walking to the gate, we did what Kris has been suggesting for three years now, to watch the fireworks from the top of the parking garage on that side of the base.  I wasn't totally sure we would get a good view of the show from there, but decided to go with his idea this last time.  I'm glad we did....the show was great from there!

A view of Verny Park and part of Yokosuka city as well as a couple dry docks

At midnight we rang in the new year with our little family all together and hanging out with our amazing friends.  Great way to start the year!

Because I overindulged a bit too much at the Robot Restaurant a few days before, I managed to bring in the new year without a drop of alcohol in my system.  So, I was able to wake up bright an early Sunday morning and make my way to the water and watch the very first sunrise of 2017.

My set up...I got a new camera gadget for Christmas so I can attach it to the camera and then control when to shoot a picture from my phone.  After I got the camera set up, I could watch the sunrise with  my eyes and take pictures by tapping a button without even looking at the camera.

Almost there...

And...there it is!  Since the Meiji era (1868-1912) Japanese have believed the first sunrise of the year has special supernatural powers

...maybe THIS will be the year I can leap tall buildings in a single bound...

many crowds gather on mountaintops or beaches to watch the sun make its first appearance for the year and pray for health and family well-being in the new year.

First selfie of the was cold out!  I forgot gloves, so my fingers were almost popsicles, but oh what a view!!!  I set up shop next to one of the gazebos around the back side of Berkey Field.

The very next day, the five of us piled into the car and made our way to Chiba.  It was here that we logged our first hike of the year, first temple visit of the year, and we managed to get a visit with the 7 Lucky Gods squeezed in there, too!  I thought I took pictures inside the Kannon, but I can't find them. :( There is a stairwell in the center of the giant statue and with every twenty steps or so there is a niche with one of the seven lucky gods inside.  We had a special paper to stamp with the gods' image on the way up.

Two more days down the road, and we were still ringing in a Japanese New Year with an amazing spread of traditional New Year's foods (called o-sechi, I think) with Junko and her family.   After filling our bellies with foods that would bring us health, joy, and prosperity.....all eaten with special New Year's chopsticks...we made our way to the beach to fly kites together.

Three boys on the edge of the water...what could go wrong here....oh, that's right...G was soaked from the waist down so we had to get clothes from Kenta in order to be allowed on the train home.  

 Mackenzie's first pottery collected for the new year :)  The kids received New Year's gifts from Junko, as they repeated after her: Akemashite Omedetoo goziamasu (Happy New Year).

So, this year, our last in Japan, we were able to have a very Japanese-y New Year!  We checked off many of the customs of this wondrous land in the first few days of the year.  From the first sunrise, first  hike, first temple visit, 7 lucky gods 'pilgrimage', enjoyed o-sechi foods, but most of all...we spent a lot of time together, with friends and with our little family.

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