Yanaka, Tokyo | 2005

I remember taking this photo on a 初写真散歩 (hatsu shashin sanpo) the first week of January, 2005. hatsu shashin sanpo is a made up word indicating "the first photo walk of the new year", and is a play on words like hatsumoude ("the first visit of the year to a shrine to pray") and hatsuhinode ("first sunrise of the year") that Japanese use (and do) at the beginning of every year.

The photo was taken in Yanaka, a quaint area of temples and shrines, a few museums, old-timey shops, and Yanaka Cemetery, one of Tokyo’s largest. Most areas of Tokyo, and indeed the country, are deader than a door nail the first week of January, but while not teeming Yanaka was busy that day on account of 七福神巡り (shichifukujin meguri), a short pilgrimage tour to visit seven temples and shrines of Shichifukujin, the Seven Deities of Good Fortune.