- Title: JAPAN: Thousands welcome 2010 by letting loose balloons and ringing a bell
- Date: 1st January 2010
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (DECEMBER 31, 2009) (REUTERS) PEOPLE RELEASING THOUSANDS OF BALLOONS AT THE END OF THE NEW YEAR COUNTDOWN ELECTRIC LIGHT BOARD ON TOKYO TOWER SHOWING "2010" BALLOONS FLYING FROM COURTYARD OF ZOJOJI BUDDHIST TEMPLE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GATHERED AT ZOJIJI BUDDHIST TEMPLE / PEOPLE TAKING PHOTOS WITH CELL PHONES MONKS AND VOLUNTEERS RINGING TEMPLE BELL MORE OF PEOPLE RINGING TEMPLE BELL BELL BEING RUNG (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOMOKO ISHIHARA, A 60-YEAR-OLD HOUSEWIFE, SAYING: "I wish for people around the world to get along with each other and live in peace in the new year." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOMOAKI KUSHIDA, A 35-YEAR-OLD SECURITY WORKER, SAYING: "More than anything else, I wish for the economy to revive so that I can find a new job this year." MORE OF PEOPLE RINGING TEMPLE BELL (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YOSHIHUMI KAGEYAMA, A 45-YEAR-OLD TEACHER AT A PRIVATE SCHOOL, SAYING: "I wish we can overcome all the obstacles we will face in the new year... with the vigour of a tiger." VARIOUS OF BUDDHIST MONKS CHANTING VARIOUS OF MONKS BURNING LAST YEAR'S LUCKY CHARMS AND BUDDHIST DECORATIONS USED UP FOR 2009 PEOPLE LOOKING AT FIRE MORE OF MONKS BURNING LAST YEAR'S BUDDHIST DECORATIONS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GATHERED AT ZOJOJI BUDDHIST TEMPLE
- Embargoed: 16th January 2010 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA6VAJ9B4FPX6F5O0LHVKMVCZJM
- Story Text: Thousands of Japanese gathered at a Buddhist temple in Tokyo on Thursday (December 31) to welcome the year 2010 with a fanfare of both traditional and modern themes.
Under the shadows of the more modern Tokyo Tower built in 1958, the historic Zojoji (pronounced Zoe-joe-gee) temple is famed for its blend of old and new.
Thousands of people including some foreign tourists and residents flocked to the temple during the night to participate in the 2010 countdown event, where they released balloons into the sky.
While the younger generation enjoyed a Western-style countdown, traditionalists conducted the heralding of the new year with the 108 gongs of the temple bells.
Tomoko Ishihara, a 60-year-old housewife living in Tokyo, said she dreamed about a more peaceful world in the new year.
"I wish for people around the world to get along with each other and live in peace in the new year,"
said Ishihara, one of the thousands who participated in the countdown event at Zojoji temple.
Some said their biggest wishes were the recovery of the fallen economy.
"More than anything else, I wish for the economy to revive so that I can find a new job this year," said Tomoaki Kushida, a 35-year-old security worker.
The world's second-largest economy was hit by the worst recession since World Wat Two early in 2009. Although it emerged from recession from the second quarter, persistent declines in prices and wages and ballooning public debt are still threatening the export-led recovery.
Facing challenges ahead of them, some Japanese believed the year of Tiger - based on the Chinese zodiac system - would give them extra power and vigour to cope with difficulties.
"I wish we can overcome all the obstacles we will face in the new year... with the vigour of a tiger," said Yoshifumi Kageyama, a 45-year-old teacher at a private school.
On the other side of Zojoji temple, Buddhist monks followed their traditional ritual of sending the old year and receiving the new with chanting and burning decorations they used at the temple during the past year.
Throughout Japan about 90 million people were expected to flock to cloisters like that of Zojoji for celebrations throughout the new year's holiday, which was due to end on January 3, local media said.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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