It was a little creepy, walking to the shrine at midnight a few days ago. The blizzard was blowing snow in my face and the wind was roaring and rattling the street signs. There was no sign of anybody else, except for the footprints in the snow ahead of me that hadn’t yet been wiped out. I could dimly hear the bell ringing at the shrine (it takes awhile to ring it all 108 times!).
Every year, I try and keep track of the people I meet around midnight, usually counting up to same number as the year. Last year, I didn’t get to twelve before the first ended, but this year the shrine priest’s wife lured me inside with alcohol, fruit, and a cat. The first 13 people of 2013 were: the cop directing traffic outside, the priest’s wife and her three assistants and two daughters, two of my junior high school students, the cat, the priest and his son, and lucky number thirteen – Nene, one of my preschoolers. Who was stunned to see me there, to the point that she actually stopped talking for once.
For all that my students see me shopping around town, I’m fairly sure some of them think I live in a box on a shelf in the junior high school.
I celebrated alone at home with TV specials and, of course, that most traditional of meals: