2 min read

Greetings from Kyoto.

Daniel Sofer, photographer here in Kyoto, Japan, wishing you the best for the New Year!

Capturing the ceremonial fire on a special rope at Yasaka Jinja.

My wife and I celebrated New Year’s in Kyoto by going to Yasaka Jinja on New Year’s Eve. In the morning we ate from a French cuisine inspired Osechi, followed by the first shrine visit (hatsumode) at the Kitano Tenmangu shrine.

This was followed by extensive file backups on the computer, to prepare for a new year of photos and posts. 

Considering that everything is traditionally closed for several days, I was quite surprised at how many restaurants and markets were open. Well, some of these places near the shrines experience pedestrian traffic on New Year’s Day far beyond that of a normal day, and it makes economic sense for them to stay open.

Late in the afternoon we were treated to a long episode of gentle rocking – almost a lullaby - by the Earth. It was an earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture, which is a long way from Kyoto. It was a very big earthquake there, that we felt hundreds of miles away.

Actually it’s been a while since I felt an earthquake. I have experienced larger quakes in Los Angeles, but like I said, the epicenter was 175 miles away so I doubt the folks in Kanazawa or the Noto Peninsula used such gentle romantic descriptions as I have used here. 

Now that 2023 is in the books, it’s time to look forward to 2024. We will escape the borderline freezing weather in Kyoto for Los Angeles where the temperatures are in the 60s (rather than 30s) for about six weeks, Then we’ll visit family in Seattle and Kansas City, before returning to Kyoto in March.

I have a gallery exhibit of prints from the Empty Kyoto book lined up for mid April so I have a lot of preparation to do once I get back.

The book that I made last year is doing well. Most all my Kickstarter backers have received their books, and I'm getting new orders almost every day.

So on that happy note, I wish you a healthy and happy new year!

-- Daniel Sofer