No, I haven't fallen off of the face of the planet, nor have I abandoned my blog. I've just been so busy during December that I felt like I was going to drop over from exhaustion and lack of sleep (due to back pain and related problems). However, hopefully, I'm well on my way to normality and can come back to blogging.
This year was pretty much the usual for the CH and I. We took no note of the festivities around us at night and he ventured out and took photos the next day. The full collection (of which the pictures here are but a sampling) can be accessed via my Picasa web gallery. You can access the Asagaya 2009 collection in this post or you can use the links to the galleries on the right.
At the shrine, there was the usual surreal mix of the trivial with the spiritual as exemplified by this chocolate covered banana stand just outside the entrance to the shrine.
One has to wonder if prayers go more smoothly with colorful sprinkles on one's banana.
This seemed a big year for dogs to be taken to the shrine. If you peruse the entire collection of pictures, you'll see a lot of people dressed their dogs for the occasion. Of course, the dogs above were rather indifferent to the surroundings and did what dogs naturally do.
People write their wishes on the back of these wooden placards (only 500 yen/$5.51) and hang them near the shrine.
This year is the year of the ox, or the cow if you prefer. The CH bought me one of these placards (the more stylized one) as well as a small ceramic cow bell to add to my collection. I have a dragon and a tiger already since I was born in the former and the CH in the latter.
I want to write a post about the past year and the upcoming year, but I don't have the motivation after uploading and dealing with the web album. However, we did buy a fukubako ("lucky box") this year and I reviewed it on my Japanese snack reviews blog. If you'd like to see what goodies were in this year's Mister Donut box, you can mosey on over there and read it.