A New Year in Japan – The Feast

We spent quite a bit of time with various relatives eating a lot of food. I had plenty of meat, shrimp, and egg. But here’s the osechi again. Much more than lunch!

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Afterwards, we are more. My daughter was exhausted from the early morning and lots of walking. She fell asleep around 6 pm.

Well, this is it for today. We did most of the big things today, but who knows what happens tomorrow?

A New Year in Japan – Hatsumode

Hatsumode is a tradition on New Year’s in Japan. It’s the first visit to a temple or shrine in the new year. We went to Wakoin, a temple in Saitama city to visit a grave.

Here’s the main gate of the temple.

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And the main hall of the temple.

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I didn’t take a picture of the cemetery, since that would be considered rude. This is probably the biggest tradition on New Year’s Day. Some people do it at midnight. Temples and shrines are typically quite busy after midnight, and some have thousands or hundreds if thousands if visitors in the first three or four days of the year. Wakoin wasn’t very busy.

One more update for today.

A New Year in Japan – Traditional Food for Lunch

When we arrived at the in-laws’, we got to have some lunch. It was mostly normal fare, but there was also osechi. This is a set box with traditional foods that are eaten at New Year’s. Here’s one osechi set.

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And here’s my daughter eating renkon, or lotus root. She likes it! I’m surprised.

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Next, it was time to go out for Hatsumode. What’s that? Find out in the next post. But before that, here’s a New Year’s display in the in-laws’ house.

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Keep checking back. More to come before the day is over.

A New Year in Japan – On the Train

The rest of our New Year is with the in-laws. What came next was a train ride. And this is the train we took.

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A closer look. It’s a Romance Car. It’s an express train with reserved seats with Odakyu.

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On the train, we got a view of Mt. Fuji.

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At Shinjuku, we changed trains to the Saikyo Line.

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On the train, my daughter fell asleep sitting up.

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And in Saitama, we could see Mt. Fuji again. But it’s a bit farther away.

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Coming up next is lunch!

Authors Answer 61 – A Look at 2016

Happy New Year everyone! It is now 2016, and this is the first Authors Answer of the year. 2016 is a big year for me personally, and it should have some surprises in store from many of us. Let’s find out what we’re doing in 2016.

003Question 61 – What are your goals for 2016?

S. R. Carrillo

My primary goals are to continue reading quality indie books, re-release the first two books of my debut series, travel a bunch, love, laugh, deep condition every week and drink lots of water… :D!

Gregory S. Close

Publish.  I’d been invited to contribute a short story to a small press anthology, and due to poor work and life circumstances this year, I wasn’t even able to complete it.  Really frustrating.  I need to figure out a writing schedule that will work so that I can get some closure on works in progress.  I’d like to finish Greyspace, and either publish traditionally (still being reviewed by a publisher – they haven’t said no yet) or Kickstart it if that fails.  Secondly, I need to get my first draft of The End of Dreams to my editor (sequel to In Siege of Daylight).  I would love to do both and build back some momentum for my writing!

Jean Davis

Write another batch of short stories that I can get into submissions and try to get another novel published.

Elizabeth Rhodes

My writing goal for 2016 is to get the first draft of a new novel down.  This is tricky, because right now I’m trying to figure out what that next novel will be.

I’m also planning to take a second crack at the 52 books reading challenge.  I’ve never been a fast reader, and reading one book a week will be hard for me.  On the other hand there are so many books on my shelves that I want to read and never got around to.  That changes in 2016.

Eric Wood

My goals for 2016 will be to be successful completing the goals I set in 2015. This will be a do over. Blog wise, I don’t really have any goals other than to keep on writing material others want to read. Healthy wise, I’m going to attempt my 1,000 mile challenge again. Perhaps this will be the year I write some children’s books. Or try to get into production the stories I’ve already written.

H. Anthe Davis

Finish and publish my fourth book, hopefully by mid-year, and get started on the fifth.  Well — get a good way through the fifth!  I’ve been trying to reduce my required writing time, but it’s a war between motivation and my desire to lay on the floor and do nothing now and then.  I should also get some short stories done, even though I hate short stories; there are certain side characters’ tales to either fill in or wrap up, so I have many ideas, I’m just not fond of the format.  Must push myself.  Beyond my writing-work, I really don’t have other goals…I just go along with my schedule.  I’m dull!  😀

Paul B. Spence

Survive? LOL… My writing goal is to finish the three books I’m working on right now. I’ll be happy if I finish one of them, to be honest.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

My main goal for 2016? To somehow get a handle on myself. 2015 seemed to fly by mainly because I seemed to be constantly head-to-the-wall busy at all times. Part of this was because of the nature of my job (which has me stuck on a work camp for 14 days at a time and thus unable to get much done during the shifts), and part of it is because I’ve been spreading myself a little thinner with all my YouTube videos and the like, but a good chunk is also just that I’m terrible at time management. I’m hoping to work on that.

But another big goal is to get the first book of “The Other World” set up for publication. I had intended to have it in the hands of my beta-reader several months ago, but I somehow managed to never actually finish the last two chapters, so things got put on hold. I’m hoping to have a completed (revised and edited) manuscript sometime within the first third or so of 2016, and I’m going to submit to a few traditional publishers as soon as I can. I’m really hoping to possibly publish in this manner, but if things aren’t looking good by the end of the year I’m going to go ahead and self-publish this one as well, because I don’t want to wait too long before having a second book available.

Finally, I’d like to work through the mess of half-stories that I created during NaNoWriMo this past year and try to get a few of my erotic fairy tales up for availability on Kindle, mostly as an experiment to see whether or not they would actually sell. I’m very interested in the results.

There are other things that I’d like to accomplish in 2016, but those are the major ones. 🙂

D. T. Nova

My biggest one is the goal I planned but didn’t accomplish for 2015: to publish my first novel.

Allen Tiffany

Historically I’ve never set goals on 1 Jan, but this year is going to be different. I’m feeling like there is too much to do regarding my writing, and my work life has gotten more complicated and demanding. So I’m going to prioritize and focus more than I ever have:

1) Though it may not sound like it is directly related to writing, workout at least 5 times a week again. I got religion on this about 4 years ago, and got into great shape by riding my roadbike more than 4K miles a year, but over the last year, I lost it… 😦 Time spent working out feels like a time suck (it is), but I just feel better and think better – to include all aspects of my writing – so I need to get back to it.

2) Publish Lonely Hunter. It has now been two years in the making. The last year has been tweaking and tuning as I’ve gone on to write the second book (Vicious Harvest) in the 5-book series and most of the third and important parts of the fourth and fifth. Working on all five has been distracting in one sense, but it has also been hugely helpful – I fully understand the entire story, where it is going, how the characters develop, etc. Knowing that informs the writing of LH down to very subtle details. But at some point I have to get on with it. I am putting it through an online workshop one more time (about 1/3rd of the way done with that), then I’m going to dig through it a few more times, and then hopefully send it off to my editor by ~end of March. She is going to need at least a month with it, if not two. So…all considered, I might get LH published in the June timeframe. …I hope.

3) Get Vicious Harvest through CritiqueCircle and to my editor by the end of the year. You can see an excerpt of VH at http://www.allentiffany.com/end-war-scifi-novel-excerpts/end-war-book-2-vicious-harvest/. Though it has been through 4 beta readers already, it is really exciting to get this one in front of objective, thoughtful reviewers.

Linda G. Hill

My main goal – in fact, my only resolution – for 2016 is to get a novel published, whether traditionally or self-published. I started my major epic, The Great Dagmaru, as my NaNoWriMo project in 2011, though it took me 18 months to finish the first draft. Since then I’ve been editing it. I’d like to get it out there before I edit it to death.

Jay Dee Archer

This is a huge year for me. I think the biggest thing is moving back to Canada with my family. There is so much to do between now and then, I’ll have no time for writing. I’ll keep reading, though. After arriving in Canada, I’ll be busy with getting all the various IDs, addresses, bank accounts, etc, set up, as well as finding a job, if I haven’t done so already. Also, get a car.

On the writing front, once everything’s settled, I’ll be focusing a lot of Journey To Ariadne, while also working on the first book of Ariadne. I’m going to do some work on short stories and flash fiction, as well.

As for reading, I’ll probably continue as usual for the first three months, then after moving, I may have more time to read. 2015 was a slow year for reading, so I hope 2016 is far better.

How about you?

What are your plans for 2016? Share what’s in store for you in the comments below.

A New Year in Japan – Sunrise at Enoshima

I think these pictures will speak for themselves. We successfully saw the sunrise at Enoshima this year. The clouds in the horizon made it even better.

The sun isn’t up yet.

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Here’s Enoshima.

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Some orange clouds on the horizon.

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And now Mt. Fuji.

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There’s the sun!

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Some reflection off the water.

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Wow! Looking good.

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More Mt. Fuji.

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A final look at Mt. Fuji.

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Goodbye, Enoshima!

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Next up is a quick breakfast while we wait for our train.