It's the turn of the Monkey and a fine and Happy New Year to you all where ever you may be! Japan's philosophy is to look to the new year without holding regrets of the last and so although I hope 2015 was a good one for you, I believe 2016 will be. This morning will have seen multiple generations breakfasting together and continual television coverage of the wildly popular ekidens (short, marathon style, road relay races) being held across the land. Sake will have been sipped and mochi chewed and chewed (and chewed).
20% of all annual mail will have been delivered on this one single morning, people sending New Year nengajo rather than Christmas cards and Japan Post having stockpiled them for this special day. Traditionally not sent if a close relative has passed away during the year, today's youth sometimes chooses to mark and remember the moment rather than mourn it, sometimes with hilarious but heartfelt imagery.
Children will have been presented with envelopes containing a few crisp new notes known as otoshi-dama, often specially ordered from a bank to ensure their pristine condition. And then it will be time to visit the ancestors with the family piling into the car and visiting the grave site where their remains will have been interred and memories recalled. And then it's time to spend the remains of the day with friends. As I say, a fine and Happy New Year to you all.