New Years in Kyoto!

We celebrated the New Year’s countdown at Kitano Tenman-gu- unfortunately, this is not one of the places that rings a bell at New Year’s, but they were burning cedar logs at a pit, so at the very least there was a great smell!

Last night we went to Kitano Tenman-gu to celebrate the coming of the New Year. We were going to watch the annual Red & White Song contest broadcasted on NHK every year, but weren’t able to get our borrowed TV working, so we had to give up on that idea. We watched a couple of movies online instead- Office Space, Eastern Promises and Easy A. There were many stalls of food and games set up outside of the temple, and though Nicky and I really wanted to try and have a lot of fun while there, we were also both beginning to feel sick, so didn’t want to exert ourselves too badly.

The temple was packed! Nicky and I found a place to stand where we wouldn’t be completely suffocated before the countdown, and after everyone counted down and cheered, everyone offered a few coins in exchange for a prayer at the head of the temple, then dispersed. We didn’t stay very long, unfortunately, due to our mutual ick, so headed home afterwards.

Today, sadly, we weren’t feeling anything close to better, but we had a date planned with Erin and her mother, who was visiting from California. We were supposed to go to Kobe to try their famous beef, but due to schedule restraints, we decided to just go to a nice restaurant in Kyoto. We planned to go to Owari-ya, a 540-year-old soba store in Kyoto, but because of the New Year’s holiday, it was closed, so we asked our taxi driver to recommend us something. He took us to a lovely sushi restaurant where Erin’s mother treated us to an amazing spread. It was so delicious! And that was our New Years! Here’s hoping we get over our sickness soon~