New Year’s volunteering: 2013-12-31 night

After our break, we all went back down to the shrine.  Not much was left to be done, but to stock the outdoor shop and open the gates.

The night was cool, but not too cold.  Above freezing.  At dusk, a heavy fog rolled in, blanketing the night in obscuring wetness.  We couldn’t see across the street – the torii gate was hidden, but the bright lamp behind it was visible – but we could see up to the stars.

I went up to the parking lot with Jim-san, Nate-san, and Jackson, and we parked cars.  In the damp dark.  The damp, noisy dark, as the shrine’s neighbors were having way too much fun with fireworks and guns.  The area sounded like a war zone from dark until nearly 2:00am.  We saw a few really nice fireworks arc into the sky, lighting up the fog, but there was a lot of banging that clearly wasn’t firecrackers.

The big flashlight and the reflective vest paid off, and worked excellently.

The people that come to the midnight ceremony are all pretty serious.  I don’t recall any little kids.  Many people were dressed up very nicely for this special occasion.

People arrived early, and from 11:15pm until midnight it was pretty busy.  We had a lull during the ceremony, and then stayed and made sure everyone got out okay.  It was so dark it seemed like a good idea.

If I counted right, we had about sixty cars, and none had only one person in them.  Probably between 120 and 150 people.  Not bad for the midnight ceremony.

By 1:30, we were done, and by 2:00am I think everyone had crashed.

Tomorrow would be the big day.

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