I hope everyone is, and will continue to have, a very blessed year filled with the joy of Christ.
So how did I spend my New Year`s Eve? At midnight mass of all places. In my home country it is more common to have an evening mass, and a morning mass the next day because everyone likes to celebrate loudly at midnight but in Japan this is not the case. New Year`s Eve, if you have never experienced one here is actually pretty quiet. People are in their hometowns visiting their parents and sitting around watching tv and eating soba. Others may go to a temple or shrine because at the Buddhist temples they ring the bell 108 times. The Shinto shrines are packed with people the first two or three days of the year, even at night, as people make their first visit of the year.
Many Catholic churches here have New Years Eve midnight mass, and since I was lazy and didn’t feel like spending the night out on the town I went to mass instead. I was a bit worried no one would be there but it turned out the church was actually three quarters full. There was no countdown just a regular mass that started right at midnight.