There are many Japanese customs associated with starting the new year off right, from praying for good fortune at the local Shinto shrine to enjoying traditional Japanese archery tournaments, which symbolize your wishes for the new year flying straight and true. Another custom I like is writing your wish for the new year on a wooden “wishing board” called an ema and displaying it at a shrine. One fun variation that’s been catching on lately is ita-ema, or wish boards with anime-style images on them, and at certain places such as the Washinomiya Shrine (seen in Lucky Star) or Akiba Jinja (featured heavily in Steins;Gate), you can go see dozens of them on display. If you’re interested in writing your own ema wishing board, we’ve got some cute ones on the site today.
New Year’s wishing boards created by otaku are fun.