On New Year's Day, braving what began as snow, and soon turned to a very cold rain, Wayne and I went to Atsuta shrine in Nagoya. The complex was filled with people coming to pray for a good year. We never made it to the shrine itself, I don't do well in large crowds and the wait was long and cold, so instead, we just enjoyed the festivities around the area. Many small stalls were set up filled with warming foods and entertaining games with prizes to win.
And what would a Japanese festival be without takoyaki, little pieces of octopus in balls of batter.
The Daruma Man. He should look happier, at lease he has eyes! These are Daruma wish dolls. When you buy them, they have no eyes. You paint one eye in as you make your wish and then paint in the other when either the wish comes true or the year ends. The two-eyed Daruma is then taken back to the shrine to be burnt by priests as they pray to the gods. In Japan, anything with eyes should never be thrown out, but instead disposed of by a priest.