Hakusan Shrine on New Years
This is the place to go for reverence and prayer. On this day and at this place, Niigata people cherish the chance to move in mass upon Hakusan Shrine. Surrounded by people everywhere you look with equally the same intentions, Japan came up with a very economical way to deal with this situation. Several years ago Japan was the first country to invent the Express Prayer.
It goes something like this,... first, throw your money into one of the big boxes (one with all the other millions of yen coins and bills pilling into them) then quickly step as close as you can and say something like `Kami sama (God) thank you and please give me good luck this year.'
As the rules go, there are about 4 prayers from which you can choose from:
PrayerChoice #1 `Let me pass the entrance exams`
PrayerChoice #2 `Win me the Lottery`
PrayerChoice #3 `May my family be healthy`
PrayerChoice #4 `Give me a husband` (some people choose a wife)`
If your prayer actually falls into another area, then it`s best to simply choose PrayerChoice#1 as other people are waiting behind you. This way at least, your prayer may go to someone else who really needs it whom probably forgot to pray in the first place. PrayerChoice #1 has been the top prayer for 5 consecutive years now.
This is also the day for heaping a dead squid on the gigantic bonfire. As this fire reaches several meters into the sky it is best not to walk through it. This is great fun for the kids and its also a good place to pick up some popcorn for snack time later.