Japan’s Emperor wishes the coming year will bring happiness to the people of Japan and the world. Emperor Akihito released his New Year’s message on Thursday. He expresses sympathy for people who lost their families or homes in natural disasters last year. The calamities include snowstorms, heavy rain, and the volcanic eruption of Mount Ontake.
New Year’s Day is the most revered holiday in Japan. Celebrated in a four-day period, most Japanese spend it with family, quietly visiting shrines and feasting on traditional New Year’s dishes.
But the scene outside the popular Laforet mall in Tokyo’s Harajuku district looked more like a concert today. Lines of shoppers spilled out into the streets as security guards watched closely.
Laforet employees wore colorful Jinbeis (a Japanese traditional short jacket) with megaphones in hand, while the sound of traditional taiko drums echoed through the hip shopping district.
Read the rest of the story: Japan ‘Fortune Bags’ Draw New Year’s Shoppers.