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As it couldn't be otherwise, we wanted to congratulate all of you, members of the Samurai Market family, on the beginning of this New Year.

In Japan, everything around us sets the atmosphere during these dates. For instance, the ever-present typical decorations welcomed us at the office entrance, creating tender moments of reunion with each and every member who is here at your service.

The New Year decorations welcome us at the entrance of the central headquarters

Following the Samurai Market tradition, we commenced the traditional Shinto rituals by visiting, as a corporation, the nearest shrine, Sanja, to express gratitude for the blessings received in the past year. Simultaneously, we seek the gods' continued blessings, just as they have guided us in every task we've undertaken with such enthusiasm. Especially now, as we embark on numerous new projects aimed at reaching each one of you.

Led firmly by CEO Oku Mitsuya, whom you can get to know a bit more through a recent interview published here, we directed our steps, lost in our thoughts and bundled up against the cold, towards the Sanja Shrine. It's a quintessential sacred place in the port commercial zone where our central headquarters resides.

The employees of Samurai Market crossing the grand torii gate of the shrine

The moment we crossed the torii threshold, the gate separating the sacred grounds from the profane as per Shinto cosmology, we began the purification rituals in the temizuya using water from the ablution fountain, both for hands and mouth. These rituals are executed in complete harmony and silence, allowing us to enter the presence of the spirits that oversee the premises.

The staff washing their hands and rinse their mouths in an act of ritual purification.

Once the purification ritual concluded, without a word spoken but guided by the intrinsic order governing personal and social relations in Japan, we approached the honden or hall of workship in pairs. This marked the culmination of our purpose in undertaking the traditional morning stroll at the beginning of this new year. This greeting is customarily performed individually, within families, or as a company during the first three days of the year.

Various perspectives of the most significant moment during the visit to Sanja Shrine

Upon returning to the central headquarters of Samurai Market, we once again honored the ancestral traditions of the Land of the Rising Sun. CEO Oku Mitsuya delivered moving words of welcome, summarizing the past year, and presided over an honorary and symbolic sake toast (given that alcohol consumption during working hours, especially in the early morning, is not permitted, of course!).

By the way, it's worth noting that we've entered 2024, the Year of the Dragon. However, we'll discuss this on another occasion as this mythological creature holds a special significance in the lives and society of the Japanese, and we'd like to involve all of you in that conversation.

I take this opportunity to remind you that with renewed vigor this year, you can follow us on our social media channels (Facebook, X and Youtube) for more frequent updates (and don't forget to 'like' and share our efforts in spreading Japanese history and culture!).

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