Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The march of the Inoshishi

Happy New Years!

Here in Japan, there are tons of traditional things you're supposed to do on the new years. Here is a small list:
  1. Making special New Years lunch boxes (which are supposed to take a lot of time to make)
  2. Scrub the entire house from tip to bottom, including changing the paper screens.
  3. Go to temples at midnight and ring a gong, which probably is the one time of the year the neighbors remember and regret they are living next to one ^^)
  4. and last but not least, write new years cards to everyone you know.
Who here has done everything on this list? .... nobody?

Yeah, me neither. But I did ring the gong though, because, I mean, come on. It's a gong.

I also wrote new years cards to my friends in Japan in the hopes of getting some in return . I wrote some last year, and got about three. Japanese new years cards are post cards, generally with a picture of the animal of the year from the chinese zodiac. Last year was the year of the dog (year of the dog rules!^^), and this year (2007), is the year of the boar... which in japanese is called 'inoshishi'. I just like saying that word. inoshishi inoshishi inoshishi!

Last year we stayed with Takeshi's family after the new years holiday, and reporting my new experiences, I said "I got some new years cards in the mail!" to my mother in law, excitedly.
She replied "That's nice. Did any of them win the lottery?"
"No.. wait, what!?!"

Apparently new years post cards that include a special post office lottery ticket as the stamp. If you send a bunch to friends, they might win the post office lottery, and win prizes, some of which are even not stamps. (what did you expect from the post office? Money?!)

I had not won anything with the three cards I had recieved, but was determined to make a better go of it the next time. So this year I sent out a LOT. 30 in total! They have a picture of our japanese wedding ceremony on them (no inoshishi, sadly).
I was following the advice Mrs S. had given me about how to get more, when she idly waved out the 200 or so she had gotten in the mail. "Send a lot, one to everyone you know. If you send them, they will come!" she prophetized mysteriously, sounding a lot like that movie that I can't remember the title of right now.

But new years came and went, with the same three cards in the post as last year.
They hadn't come.

Takeshi would watch me check the mail with like an excited child every day the week after new years, only to be dissapointed with the eventual discovery of nothing but junk mail.
Until one day...about five days after new years.. they started, at first a few, then a few more, and then.. a flood! twenty total! Twenty postcards of dancing inoshishis in the mail made me happy in an utterly silly and girly way, and I celebrated by taping them to the wall near our hallway, which made Takeshi raise an eyebrow or two. Here's a photo of all their lovely hooved glory.

I finally got around to checking the lottery. I actually won something! If you can't guess what it is, it's not money and you can affix it to small peices of paper. Oh and it starts with an S and ends with an TAMPS.
Good ol' post office! ^_^


Blogger Catherine Weaver said...

Well, at least it ends with tampS and not just one TAMP

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Field of Dreams.


10:36 PM  

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