It feels like it’s been forever since I posted – finals went down, friends went away, and I spent a few days in my room just recuperating from all the business of this past month!
However, I did find the energy to meet with my friend Rei! We got lunch, and she took me to a cat cafe near the mall. The cats were so adorable and fantastic. My favorite was a little black one – she had to have part of her back foot amputated, but that didn’t keep her from being the sweetest and cutest of them all. It also didn’t stop her from running all over the cafe!
Meeting with Rei was so great – she’s pretty busy, and we don’t go to the same school, so I don’t get to see her often! She had to run off to work after the cat cafe, but promised we’d meet up again sometime soon.
For the Japanese New Year, one of my coworkers, Yoshimi, invited me to go with her and her daughter to a shrine! Yoshimi is a devout shinto practitioner – she goes to the nearby shrine, Kamigamojinja, regularly. It was so much fun to spend time with her and her daughter, Aki! Aki goes to college in Kobe. She’s a little intimidating…she’s so cool. She showed me lots of pictures of her motorcycle.
I spent the night at their house so we could go to the shrine early in the morning. When I woke up, I ate my first ever authentic Japanese breakfast. It was extremely good. I can’t even describe it. It had a lot of things I was allergic to that I had to eat around, but everything I did eat was amazing!
After breakfast, we headed out to the shrine. It was just a short ten-minute walk from their house. Yoshimi stopped at twelve of the inner shrines to pray. It was interesting to see that there were so many gods she entrusted her year to! I tried to keep up – the shrine was packed with other people there for their New Year’s prayers.
Going to the shrine with Yoshimi on the first of the year was an astounding experience – one of the best I’ve had in Japan, probably! I think I will have a pretty good 2017, myself.