I learned my lesson in 2011 and went to the local soba shop early this year and there were plenty of noodles left to buy (I also brought my D-700 rather than my now 1 year old iPhone.). The shop is next to a train station and so there is a lot of foot traffic. It seemed that nobody could resist stopping and buying some soba to ring out 2012 and welcome the new year 2013.
Another end of the year tradition is oosouji (大掃除) - this is akin to spring cleaning in the west. People clean and tend to every dirty detail in their homes and shops. The picture below is a man cleaning the top of a small shrine next to the train station. The photo was taken through a window as I was riding an escalator up to the train platform.
The last picture below is of a shop window in dire need of oosouji... A good reminder that not all Japanese people follow all traditions...
2012 was a great year. The fall semester ended on a good note; the last several days have been spent at Christmas parties and end-of-the-year parties. A neighbor gave us a big crab, a highly desirable winter delicacy. Thanks to all of my students, colleagues and VAOJ readers for all of their efforts this last year. 良いお年を!