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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Thousands of balloons in the air during the countdown to 2012 @ Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo


Well, I wasn't expecting to end 2011 with such a downer of a post.

Therefore, I'm going to start this year with a bang, by showing you a video I shot of the countdown to 2012 at Zojo-ji Temple that I went to last night.

(... there was also a rather big earthquake right before I started writing this, when it was shaking, I was sitting on my bed, quietly wondered how serious would it get. And as I was thinking, the quake stopped. Apparently, it was a Magnitude 7.0 earthquake.)

But anyway, here's the video.

Every year during New Year's Eve, people would go there and line up for a 'Wishing Paper' in the Temple. the booth opens at 8:30pm, but usually people have to line up at least 2 hours earlier (which I did, yesterday). Each 'Wishing Paper' can be exchanged for a balloon to be released into the air during the countdown.

Thousands of balloon in the air? A sight so spectacular that I can barely even describe it.

In evenings, Zojo-ji is very beautiful.

Zojo-ji on New Year's Eve

Zojo-ji on New Year's Eve 2

Especially with Tokyo Tower looming majestically over it. Despite seeing it so often, I somehow find myself unable to stop taking photos of it.

My last two New Year's Eve were spent at Maiko the Producer's house, with the lovely hospitality of her parents and their delicious sukiyaki. I could just sit back, relax, and watch the Red-White Competition on television. (You can read about my New Year's Eve 2010 recap here, or the New Year's Eve 2009 recap here and here)

I wasn't going to be at her place this time, so I thought I would find another way to signal the beginning of the new year. (... even though it meant that I have to sacrifice watching Shiina Ringo at this year's Red-White Competition!) But I tried to retain some tradition. For example, every time when I reach Maiko's hometown on New Year's Eve, I would buy a shirt at Shimamura shop to wear on New Year's Day. Yesterday, I bought a shirt at a Shimamura shop closer to my place too.

Since 2009, buying a shirt from Shimamura on New Year's Eve (to wear on New Year) had became an annual tradition. Bought this just now, wearing it on the 1st day of 2012. Gangsta.

Saying goodbye to 2011.

Saying Goodbye to 2011 at Zojo-ji

And then, after the balloons that flew into the air, after the rapturous cheers of the thousands and thousands of people around me, I realized 2012 had started.

Tokyo Tower signaled the arrival of 2012

Again, the same question I asked a year ago.

I wonder where will I be a year from now?