Wishing you big catches & safe journeys at sea for 2012!
Well this New Year’s Day I travelled to the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine. It is a while since I came here, and time to renew my magical fishing amulet. My current one attached to trusty tackle-bag, has rusted over with the salt of four seas and is rather worn.
The first thing to do is take the old one back to the shrine, hand it over and, if it has ‘worked,’ give a prayer of thanks. Since I have been fortunate enough to not have been lost at sea or had some terrible accident in the mountains, and have had some great days out fishing on both sea and stream, I consider it to have done its job. The next step is to buy a new one from the shrine maidens, offer a prayer over it and all is done. Today I bought two, one for my sea-tackle bag and one for my ayu/fly fishing vest (one must cover all eventualities of course) both of which, according to the label, protect the bearer from misfortune whilst fishing and also provide him/her with good catches.
After all the holiness and sanctity of the shrine, I found myself with something of a thirst, and in all the roads and lanes in the neighbourhood is a great variety of food stalls and eateries selling almost all kinds of street food like yakitori, takoyaki, oden, yakisoba and suchlike. I settled for a jar of cheap, hot sake and a bowl of hot motsu-nikomi (trippa/chitlins stewed with vegetables).
Nikomi is often scorned as poor-john suitable only for working men and the lower variety of izakaya, but it is perfect for keeping out the biting cold of Japanese New Year, and as the food stall also has a hot stove between each table, having a quick drink and a bite there has become something of a ritual for me every time I am in the area. I also stopped by to make my seasonal greetings to my rod making teacher who lives nearby, then went home. After shipping the amulets on the relevant fishing tackle, I spent the rest of today at home with my feet up.