3 in 30 - 2000.31 Sunday
While this page is available from the 3 in 30 page, it doesn't properly belong with the 3 in 30 group since the photographs were taken outside of Matsubara-cho.
These are a few of the symbols of the new year. The arrow is a good luck arrow that we got at the Kumagawa Jinja (shrine). The arrow itself as it arcs overhead rains down good luck on those who pass under it. Kind of like a horse shoe. The red tag says where it is from. The wooden plaque has a snake painted on it since this is the Year of the Snake. There is also gold and silver colored bells, which are supposed to help call attention to the spirits.
The small cup is a choko (literally "pig's mouth"). Our ceramics teacher made over 400 of these sake cups, decorated with snake scales for a hotel in Atami to give to New Years Eve patrons.
On the right is a small celedon colored slip-cast snake that is toothpick holder. Beverly has been collecting these for each year we have been here; dog, boar, ox, tiger, dragon, snake, rabbit, and rat.
After a small New Years Eve gathering with friends, we have made it a habit to go to one of the local shrines. We picked Kumagawa Jinja because it was small, old (dating back 1400 years), and within walking distance.
Each New Years Eve, shrines have services and a bonfire. We wouldn't understand the services, but we enjoy a bonfire on a cold night. The bonfire is for getting rid of items from the year which are of no use after the year's end. People bring in their used up good luck arrows, paper prayers that have been kept, new year's greenery, Dairuma dolls, and anything else that needs be discarded in a purifying fire.
One year we all made wishes with Dairuma dolls and when those wishes came true, the dolls were no longer needed. At the end of the year, we brought them here and consigned them to the bonfire.
Part of our group paused at around one in the morning for this group portrait. While there is no snow on the ground, it is the wee hours of New Years morning and the temperature is probably around 6° C (42° F). From right to left: Beverly, Ruth Lattimore, Scott Wiley, Reiko Kashima, Chance Wiley.
Beverly is bundled up with hat and scarf against the cold. Ruth Lattimore is the Asian Division's Math and Statistics Coordinator. (Kind of like a department head.) Her husband Paul, who teaches life sciences and is a photographer, is wandering the grounds of the shrine.
Scott Wiley is the Director of Instructional Materials for the Asian Division. He is responsible for making sure that our students, spread out over 100 million square miles, get their books each term. Scott's wife Reiko Kashima seems to have been caught blinking for the snapshot.
Chance is Scott's nephew visiting from Iowa. This was his first visit to Japan and was quite the adventuresome young man.