Morioka, Japan

New Year’s Eve Night in Morioka, Japan

December 31st, 2017

My Orginal Plan

On December 31st, on New Year’s Eve, I had no plans to do anything.  Just chilling out at Starbucks, drinking my coffee.   Typing away on my laptop.  Trying to catch up on my blog, and I didn’t have any friends yet in Morioka.  It also didn’t help that I hate the cold.  If I could hibernat all winter I would.  I like to explore new places in warmer weather.  Then, I received an e-mail from my boss.
She wished me a happy New Year’s Eve and told me I could go to Hachimangu Shrine. She said that is where everyone goes to celebrate the New Year’s and I should go for the cultural experience. I would have to take Odori (main shopping strip) and it would be about 40 minutes to an hour walk in the snow. The shopping strip was not far from my home and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk an hour in the snow. I decided to think about it and just keep working on my blog. My laptop battery died and I decided to leave Starbucks. Starbucks has some sort of covering over there plugs so you can’t stay at Starbucks all day on your laptop or phone. Very smart of them on their part if you don’t want people to be sitting around all day. (I realized later that the main table in Starbucks has plugs underneath the table. They’re not very noticeable if you’re not looking for it. I was always looking for plugs on the walls, not underneath tables). I headed to 7-ll, grabbed some food to heat up back at my apartment and left.

New Plan
Once I got back home, I ate my dinner and started working on my blog some more.  I was still debating in my head if I want to brace the cold for over two hours. One hour to the shrine and one hour back and who knows how long I will be there for. Do I really want to be out in the cold that long? I can’t decide. So I waited for about 9:30 pm. and decided I will try to get to the shrine and hopefully not get lost along the way. I left around 10 pm. and when I open the door I saw that it has been snowing for some time now. There was about an inch of snow on the ground and everything was covered in snow. I haven’t seen this in a long time and it actually looked beautiful to me. Usually, it doesn’t and I hate snow but here in Japan, it looks beautiful. I took some photos outside my place before I left for my long walk.

The Long Walk

I walked down my street tell I had to turn left. I walked down for a little bit and had to walk pass Odori shopping area. I wanted to get directions from GoogleMaps before I went any further. 7/11 has free WiFi but they don’t have any chairs or tables for you to seat at. Probably so that no one can stay too long and just use the WiFi all day. I stood outside the store to get direction. It looked pretty far, just like Maggie said, but I believe I could do it. I screenshot the directions and got back to Odori Shopping strip. I turned left first hoping that was the right way. Maggie said there would be a lot of people coming and going from the shrine, but I only saw people coming out of bars and KTV’s really drunk. Or families that were going back to their car with shopping bags. They were on both sides of the shopping strip. It was about 15 minutes before I realized that I turned the wrong way. I saw an old Temple/Shrine and it was pretty dark in that area and no one was really around.  I don’t remember seeing this old Temple/shrine on GoogleMaps and Maggie said I just needed to go straight the whole time and I should run into the shrine. I turned around and started walking the other direction. (Turns out, I was going the right direction.  I had to go around theTemple/Shrine and walk another 30 mintues.) While walking through the shopping strip, that is where I would see the most people at. Most of them being drunks and talking pretty load. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable because I was walking by myself, and I was told I should stay away from drunk men on the street. There were a lot of drunk men that were together with there friends.  Luckily, they didn’t bother me, but I still felt uncomfortable.

I kept walking for about 30 minutes and I came across a bridge. I remember this bridge because Maggie went over the bridge when she picked me up from the Morioka Station. I must be pretty close to the station then.
I kept walking, hoping I was close to the shrine. I found an interesting silhouette on a rolling gate. It was a silhouette of a ballerina posing with a chair next to her. It was beautiful. I took a few pictures of this and a selfie. To show how bundled up I am.

(Just Keep Swimming  Dora Tune)  Just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking, walking, walking.  Its so cold!!  I think I will only walk for a little bit longer and then I will call it a night and head back to my place.  As I was walking, I found another interesting display outside a shop.  This shop had a statue of a penguin on top of a sign, a pumpkin, some lights, plants, a Ferris wheel, and some other odd and neat things.
As you can see, my walk was a little bit eventful. I kept walking for a little bit longer. There weren’t many people on the street now and I felt very unsafe. I don’t like to be in areas where there aren’t many people around including where there are quite a few drunks out. I decided to head back because I felt unsafe and figured I probably miss most of the event anyway. As I was walking back I found out the clock said 11:40 pm. I defiantly miss a lot of things by now. I stayed on the main street that I have been using the whole time and got back to the shopping area. I had to turn left and keep going.  I passed a few convent stores and knew I was going the right direction back home.
Once I got to my apartment, I changed out of my wet clothes and crawled into bed with my three heavy blankets on top of me. I even turned on my heater for about an hour before I turn it off. I thought I would have heard fireworks by now, but I guess fireworks isn’t a thing here. Then finally sleep came over me and I was passed out.
Hope you enjoy the read. Sorry, that I didn’t do too much on New Year’s Eve. I will try to keep posting things when I have time. Please follow me if you like my blog and if you enjoy the pictures you can see more pictures of my adventures on Instagram or my Facebook page. Have a great New Year.

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