Remember the Santa-like things I posted pictures of in December? They are variations (adaptation? parodies?) of Ah and Un, the guardians at shrine gates (except that they were both Un, because both of their mouths were closed). They were guarding a cafe rather than a shrine.
A curious blend of western and eastern happened at the shrine around the corner from our place, too. Shrines are always decorated and spruced up for New Year, and our neighbourhood had an unusually Christmassy New Year.
After going under the decorations we washed our hands in dragon water:
Ah and Un were at our shrine, too. These are shishi, lion dog guardians. (The warrier-type ones are Nioh.)
This woman has just bought an omikuji (fortune paper), and is reading it.
This woman and her panda are reading ema, people's wishes for the year.
Happy New Year, everyone!