Well wishes for the New Year, from everyone at Balconi! Since Balconi is located in what was originally known as “Little Osaka” (now “Sawtelle Japantown”), we’re taking this opportunity to introduce you to a little bit of New Years culture, Osaka style. Specifically, the experience of visiting one of the numerous Shrines, which are said to be the home of the various gods, during the first week of New Years. Many Japanese head to the shrines, to ask the gods for very specific kinds of support. In the case of Ebessan [shrine], we’ve come to ask for a prosperous business year.
Pictured is a decoration representing the Takarabune, or "Treasure Ship" - a mythical ship piloted throughout heavens by the Seven Lucky Gods during the first three days of the New Year. These are purchased by business owners and displayed in shops to yield good luck and [business] prosperity
The photograph above was taken on a street leading up to えべっさん, which is pronounced “Ebessan” by Osaka natives. The ornament pictured, is quite expensive and as boats are a main vehicle for import/export in Asia, the design represents prosperity coming in and business growing outwards! It is difficult to see, but in the ornament, Seven Gods are depicted, one of them being the God Ebessan. From this God is where the Shrine takes its name, which means “ornament.”
In the shrine’s courtyard, bamboo is distributed amongst the attendees, as a symbol of good luck. Bamboo is considered to be a prosperous business item, in that it grows straight and fast. This represents the growth of the business and as the leaves flourish, the business does too. The next time you are sitting at the counter, wondering what to discuss with the person next to you, we hope you will pull up this entry and share a little bit of Japan’s history. It is our hope that many people will be exposed to more of Japan’s deep culture, as we approach the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We will do our best to prepare you, through coverage of the country and the events leading up to the 2020 games (both coffee and non coffee related). Here’s to a happy and prosperous New Year!