A New Year’s Story…

Written by Lorna Shapiro

It turns out that in Japan, New Year -and not Christmas- is a relevant family time. An important part of that celebration is to see the first sunrise and say prayers for friends and family and a good year. The first sunrise is called Goraeko (pronounced go-ra-eh-ko). Vic and I were having New Year’s Eve dinner with our two live-in Japanese ladies, and they inquired about where they might go to view the first sunrise. One thing led to another and, before I knew it, I had suggested that I’d drive them and Chisato (with whom I travelled in Japan) to the Cypress Mountain to see the first sunrise. When we got there, at 7:45 AM Jan 1, the parking lot was already almost full. Around 98% of the people standing out in the cold morning to welcome the first sunrise were either Japanese or Korean (where this is also a tradition). The other 2% of us were Caucasians accompanying our Japanese or Korean family or friends. So, while you were perhaps enjoying a sleep-in, I was on top of the mountain welcoming the Goraeko and the new year! Hope to see some of you there next year.