Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Still Life

Yesterday this shopping arcade lying on the outskirts of Temple Valley was wall-to-wall people, all doing last-minute shopping in preparation for their New Year's celebrations. Today the stores are all temporarily shuttered for this, the biggest holiday of the year in Japan. 

The street is now as quiet as a church and will be that way for the next three days or so. Practically every store that lines this lane will remain closed for a few days of rest just as they have at the beginning of every new year for as long as anyone living in this valley can remember. 

Walk just down the street though and it seems like your almost a world away. There the Walmart-owned Sieyu department store, like the new glitzy shopping mall only a five-minute train ride away, is wide open for business this January first and it's bustling. 

I wonder if this plain covered lane of mom and pop shops will soon wither away in the shadow of its giant competitors and rest in peace forever. Let's hope it doesn't and that all who take this path of relative peace and quiet find it paved with prosperity this coming year.

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