Saturday, January 6, 2018

2018 New Years Shots at Hozanji: Enjoying Warm Amazake and Takoyaki Behind the Noren

As long term VAOJ readers are well aware, I usually take a New Year's pilgrimage to Hozanji Temple in Nara. This has been well documented (see links at the end of this post). This year was no different. Except that my camera battery and back-up battery failed me. So the few shots I am willing to share with you come from my iPhone... (New batteries purchased upon arrival at home after setting up the new new year's amulets...)

These first few shots illustrate the general atmosphere: people washing their hands before paying, disposing old amulets and buying new ones... Temples and shrines are usually very crowded the first few days of the new year. It slows down a bit after January 4th or 5th when most people return to work after the holiday. There was still a steady stream at Hozanji today.

One difference between the first few days and the days following is the reduction of roten「露店」, temporary outdoor food stalls, at least at Hozanji. But one shop that remains, run by a nice elderly couple that have been there for as long as I can remember, sells sweet, warm amazake and large, tangy takoyaki. This is always a nice treat at the end of the walk through and up to the top of the temple. This year there was a new shelter made of plastic sheeting to help protect from the wind and cold. It also had noren - on each partition was the name of a food or drink the shop sells. I couldn't help myself from playfully shooting through the curtains.

If you are unfamiliar with noren, check out these links:

Photo Exhibition and Visual Ethnography - "Tachinomiya: There Are Two Sides to Every Noren":

Tachinomiya: Photo Exhibition as Research Method:

See more of Hozanji through the years on VAOJ:

2011 Hozanji shots:

2012 Hozanji shots:

2013 Hozanji shots:

2014 Hozanji shots:

2016 Hozanji shots:

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