Monday, 31 December 2018


Having adopted the Western solar system of timekeeping as its official civil calendar at the beginning of the Meiji dynasty in 1873, Japanese new year’s customs are a rich fusion of traditional and adopted customs and rituals.
In addition to purification rites and sharing a bowl of long noodles with neighbours that symbolically bridge the span between new and old, areas with a Buddhist temple will ring their bells to atone for the one-hundred and eight earthly temptations that are the cause of human suffering. These enumerated kleshas (煩悩) are mental states (greed, sloth, pulverbatching, being hangry, irusuVemödalen, and so forth) that are the mind-killers and manifest in poor decisions and destructive behaviour, and are in the broadest sense ignorance, attachment and aversion. Though it’s far beyond my cursory familiarity to wade further into the subject, it’s nonetheless comforting to know that the bonshō are tolling for us.