Happy 2006! May it be a good year.
I have been overeating almost consistently since vacation started on the 28th. At least I went swimming once. I will go swimming this weekend too. It's been a little hard to eat enough vegetables too. For example, if I go to the convenience store, my eyes automatically seek out the grilled pork bento, which consists of salt, pork, and rice. Salads just look boring in comparison. And have you noticed that it's a lot of work to eat a salad? Stuffing leaves into your mouth is a very messy process. Cutting the leaves up into bite sized pieces and getting them to stay on the fork also takes time.
I went to the Buddhist temple Senso-ji in Asakusa with my friend's family for the traditional midnight visit. We actually left before midnight because the lines were crazy and it was really cold. I took lots of pictures but most of them are probably too dark.
Starbucks and other stores actually started selling their 福袋 (grab bags) at midnight. These grab bags are like mystery packages - they contain a variety of items worth more in total than the purchase price. The catch is that you don't know what is inside until you buy it. Uniqlo sells grab bags labelled by size. Prices can range from approx. $20 and upwards. Apparently there are some really expensive grab bags available at department stores. Hanshin Department store had a special 2004万円 (about $200,000) bag to celebrate the 2003 Hanshin Tigers baseball team's championship. Limited to exactly one bag, at least 100 people applied to buy it. (source: a site on grab bags)