While I lived in Tokyo I learned of the Japanese tradition called Osoji. It’s similar to our custom of spring-cleaning, but it’s done at the end of the calendar year. Since New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday of the year in Japan, they spend the days before it doing a very thorough cleaning of every nook and cranny of their homes, offices, and schools.
It was normal in my Tokyo neighborhood to see futons airing out on balcony railings every day, but Osoji was much more than that. There was so much sweeping happening on December 31 each year that there was probably a cloud of dust over the entire nation of Japan! And I really liked the idea of cleaning in the middle of winter, when you’re spending more time indoors than any other time of year. And it seems a more productive way to start a new year than making a resolution that will be broken within 2 weeks anyway.
I’ve adopted my own version of this tradition in recent years. I don’t claim to do it as thoroughly as the Japanese do, but I usually do a good bit of decluttering and dusting of neglected corners during the month of January.
This year I tackled my out-of-control yarn stash and was able to give several big bins of yarn to my friends. And they were very appreciative too, which was really satisfying. So I reduced the stress of having too much yarn, and gained some space in my office too.
Next I went through the house gathering up items that we could donate to the Salvation Army. Things like artwork I’m tired of, clothes we can’t fit in, games, puzzles, and other small household items. I’ve got enough to fill the back of an SUV now, and I might add a few more things to those boxes before I’m done. If it wasn’t so cold in our garage attic I’m sure I’d spend more time pulling things from there, but that part usually has to wait till spring….brrr.
I’ve been faithfully taking a picture a day for Project 365. Here’s one I posted to my Flickr account today. I know it’s not all in focus, but I loved how the light was shining on the Pine Siskin’s feathers as he/she came in for a landing beside the sparrow.
I’ve become so frustrated at my inability to get good bird shots that I finally gave in and ordered a new camera. I’m getting the Canon EOS Rebel T2i — hurray!! I cannot wait for it to get here.
And can you believe the Pileated Woodpecker came back today after being AWOL for almost 2 months? I took over 200 pictures of it and didn’t get a single one in focus, even though I set up the
tripod and everything. Although, to be fair to myself, it was getting a bit dark outside, and I was standing in the driveway with my slippers on in temps of low 20s. And earlier I had been playing with my digital zoom and forgot that I’d left it on. I think that’s why most of the pictures were so grainy. Ick. Hopefully this beautiful bird will come back after I’ve gotten used to my new DSLR.