Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sound the Bells

This is the end of the large rope that rings the bell at Hikawa Shrine (氷川神社). The proper way to pray varies slightly depending on the shrine but many go like this:

1. Step up and ring the bell
2. Bow twice
3. Clap twice
4. Pray (don't forget to say your name!) and throw coins in offering box
5. Bow once

Pretty simple right?

The reason we ring the bells and clap before we pray is, not only to wake up the gods and get their attention, but the sound also purifies our aura and allows us to communicate more clearly with the gods.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jam Packed

Doesn't this look like a bunch of little boxes squished together?

It's actually a part of Shinjuku with a mix of houses, apartments, and office buildings and also schools here and there. And smack in the middle is a river flowing through.

If you look closely, you can also see that some of the roof tops still have the snow from yesterday. It was a glorious morning today with snow glittering everywhere. There were also a lot of people slipping and sliding down the sidewalk. Couldn't help laughing!

Hope you're day was filled with laughter, too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winters Night

The day started out cloudy, then rainy...but by night it was (drum roll please...) snowing!!!

I've been mumbling and grumbling about how if it was going to be this cold, it might as well snow. Well, someone must have heard me because it really did snow. We don't often get snow like this in Shinjuku so I'm kinda excited, in case you couldn't tell!

And what is the point of having snow if you aren't going to make a snowman?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cold Cold Rain

Hi friends! How are you?

It's been raining a lot here in Shinjuku. I like rain in the summer but not this cold rain in the winter. It has me shivering every time I step outside.

I'll be posting a couple of black and white photos this week because everything looks kind of blah in color. Hope you're all enjoying your weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Where To?

Just a random sign I saw the other day.

I'm guessing it's French (because anything I can't read or pronounce is usually French). Made me curious to see where or what it was pointing to.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh So Blue

The sky is a gorgeous blue today.

I'm kinda a boo-hoo blue. The great thing is, I think I've FINALLY gotten over my holiday break and am ready to get back into the groove of things. (And yes, I have been back at work for over a week already...but, you know.) The boo-hoo thing is, my groove came back just in time for my super busy couple of weeks that are going to be crazy. So my posts may be kind of sporadic.

But I'm just very thankful that I actually have a job that keeps me busy. I just heard on the news that many of the people who lost their jobs last year in the earthquake and tsunami up north may not be able to continue to receive unemployment payments any more. So that means, no jobs and no support while they try to rebuild their lives. They must have so much to worry about.

So I'm really thankful I'm so busy. Especially with the sky is so blue.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Enjoy looking at more beautiful skies all around the world here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weird Plant

This thin plant caught my eye and so I took a picture of it.

Then I looked closer and took another picture of the bizarre little toys in the pot. I'm trying to figure out if the owner purposely put them there or if some random person just dropped them there.

The more I look at it, the more I start to like it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bring In the Luck

This is another type of charm we put out on our doors or gates in Japan during the New Years.

They are sold at shrines and temples. Francisca asked if it was mine in my last post. I don't really do any of the New Year traditions like this, mostly because I'm always back at my parents place during the holidays and also because I'm not Buddhist or Shinto and a little bit lazy to go buy it just for the sake of tradition.

But I do like walking around the neighborhood and seeing almost all the houses and stores with some kind of New Years decoration. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wood and Life Span

I really love wood. And I really love how they used wood for the walls of this shrine.

This is the side wall of Akagi Shrine (you can see the front in a previous post here). I learned that this new and modern shrine was designed by a famous Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. He's one of my favorite architects, not that I know very many by name, but I like how he designs buildings with both futuristic and traditional styles.

I found a random interview article where he talks about his style and interests...and how he doesn't like ties. His says "somebody said that a tie decreases the length of our life by ten years, this is why the average life of ladies is ten years longer." How fascinating.

Do you think this is true?

Monday, January 9, 2012


Boy I can't seem to keep up these days. But here's me finally making an effort.

This is a new years decoration that many people hand on doors or gates outside their homes. You can see a crane and red/white ropes, which are both considered to bring luck.

I thought this photos was appropriate since my new years resolution this year is to write more letters. Especially to my grandma, who is currently living alone. She likes to see pictures of us grandkids and says that letters are better than phone calls because you can read them over and over again. I actually told her that she could record our phone calls and listen to it again...but she wasn't too keen on that idea. haha.

So this here is my resolution, and I'm writing it out on this blog so I won't forget. Going to start that letter right now...!

Hope you're all having a great start to the week!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!!! Can you believe we have a brand new year ahead of us starting today? So many possibilities and so many dreams.

2012 is the year of the Dragon. Many in Japan are praying for a stronger brighter year. I found this cardboard dragon decorating the Muji shop in Shinjuku. Doesn't it look fierce?

Hoping this year will bring everyone much happiness and togetherness...and many more wonderful blog posts from all of you blogger friends!

With love,