I found this shimekazari (Japanese New Year or shogatsu entrance decoration) in one of the cupboards today. A shimekazari is hung at the entrance door to keep bad spirits away and bring in luck for the coming year. It is put up a few days before New Year’s day and then removed about a week after. There are a lot of preparations for the New Year period that families do – it is the most important celebration in the Japanese calendar after all.
As there are so many, we only follow very few of the traditions such as eating toshikoshi soba (New Year’s Eve soba), visiting a shrine within the first three days of the new year and buying and putting up a shimekazari. As this year is the Chinese zodiac year of the dog, the dog is part of the decoration. When purchasing it, I didn’t consider that we won’t be able to reuse it. I’m including it in the memory archive as it reminds me of the quiet and peaceful time that is shogatsu in Tokyo; when the city calms down and people, for once, relax.