This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

Tokyo Christmas and New Year - last day for a lucky outcome. / 28 December 2014

A dark background, the door, with the traditional 'corn-dolly style' rice decoration ( this one looking a little like a western-style angel) hanging on it

New Year wishes, hopes and prayers

Zoom in to this image and read text description

Today is the last day that I could consider beginning Tokyo New Year celebration blogging. The 29th is out - any number that includes a nine is bad luck and the 30th is just too late for showing any proper respect.
Preparations are already well underway; anytime after 13th December it is ok to start gathering pine branches.
Most firms have already held their End-of-Year staff parties and people are taking holiday and beginning to gather as families in festive mode.
Free End-of-Year concerts abound. I don't recognize any of the music I've heard so far, but I'm told that Beethoven's 9th is the New Year music of choice.
We have begun planning our End-of-Year menu, online research has revealed some shockingly expensive food box selections, but we are planning something simpler fetched from the world famous Tsukiji fish market. (I'm rather pleased about that as it is reminiscent of the Danish tradition of buying a New Year's Eve cod at the harbour market).
We will of course be eating soba (buckwheat noodles) in the run-up to midnight and not to bring back luck, or carry any over from 2014, we will be taking care not to still be eating them after the hour has struck and the year changes.
I've not been able to get to the source of this ritual, but the tapping has already started. Nightly, groups of men wander the area tapping two wooden blocks or sticks together to ward off demons and bad luck. Our street has been cleansed most evenings. According to local custom, every street in Tokyo should be treated.
The New Year needs a clean start and no demons or old-year bad luck should be allowed to cross over.

Is it me, wheeled demon,
mowing down innocents,
stealing the price of a
decent champagne from the
gods of Westminster?
is it me, wheeled demon,
terrifying children,
'ware, 'ware, wheeled chair; rolling
at you, stealing your space,
and always in your way?
Is it me, wheeled demon, 
using your taxes on
frivolous ramp-age 
and luxury access,
or stealing your healthcare?
Is it me, wheeled demon,
symbolic scapegoat of
all that is wrong in
your life, your world, your hope
of streets paved in gold?