Sunday, January 7, 2024




    Every year I visit Taga Taisha on the last day of the year at around 8pm. There are several reasons for me to do so. First, I go to a shrine at the end of the year rather than on the first day of the year because I have no time to run my cafe on new year's days which are the busiest days in the year. Second, I want to avoid crowds of people who visit the shrine to make wishes for the new year. However, this time, I decided to go to the shrine at midnight.

    When I went to Taga Taisha, many people had already gathered there. Most of them were younger. However, they were not moving toward the front of the shrine and I wondered why. Since I wanted to go to the center to pray, I reached there weaving my way through a crowd and finished praying by offering some money. Then, I felt something weird because people nearby were not praying nor throwing money, and they were just standing or looking at their cell phones there. I didn't know what was going on, so I stayed a little longer to know what would happen next. It was 11:58 in the midnight and soon after, I heard a big drum sound to let the people know it started the new year. I saw all people started throwing their money into the offering area and praying in a shinto way. It was just like Countdown in the US and I had never seen such a sight in the shrine. It was very strange for me.

    I went home thinking about my next visit to the shrine at the end of 2024. I prefer visiting earlier like I had been doing because I have more quiet time to pray and thank God for the year passing safely.