We did it! We set a new record for getting to the hatsumode early in the year. Often it is three weeks to a month into the new year that we do it but now it is on the 10th of January.
It was not too crowded, and we found a convenient parking space. We went to Houzanji - which is technically a temple but there are lots of shrines inside the temple grounds. Rian wanted to explore; apparently he had forgotten all the times we had been there before so he wanted to see all the upper areas which seemed ‘new’ to him.
We all got a chance to make our wished for whatever it is that we wanted in the new year. We also got our fortunes - (おみくじ）, most of which were bad, so we all decided to play it cool this year. Of course, I made my wishes for propserity in the new year at my school, Smith School of English in Ikoma (スミス英会話 生駒)[http://www.smithweb.co.jp/school/ikoma.shtml], and I have every intention of making those dreams come true again this year.
I think it is going to be a good new year, and el nino is certainly helping us to feel good this year. It was not too cold despite the wind as we visited the shrines and temple. Happy New Year!