Happy New Year to everyone, and best wishes for a safe and peaceful 2011 from your friends in Japan at J-List!
We had a nice quiet holiday here, going to our local Shinto shrine for the official first prayer of the new year, then we did aisatsu (greetings) with various Japanese relatives who probably never expected to have an American in their extended family, though they think nothing of it now. The Japanese have a tradition of giving money to children on New Year’s Day, called otoshidama (lit. New Year’s Coin), although inflation has raised the amount to around $30-$50 per child depending on their age. It’s quite a good tradition, as it means children have a reason to happily come along when visiting relatives, cheerfully engaging in polite conversation because they know they’ll be compensated financially. Even my daughter, who’d much rather be playing her Nintendo DS or watching Katekyo Hitman Reborn on YouTube was happy to tag along with us without complaint.
There are many rabbit-themed images in Japan now.