bell1Members of Gardena Buddhist Church braved the cold on New Year’s Eve to attend a service and to ring the temple bell 108 times — under the supervision of Rev. Nobuo Miyaji — in order to get rid of 108 impurities or imperfections and get a fresh start for the new year. Afterwards, participants warmed up in the social hall by eating toshikoshi soba, another New Year’s tradition. In Japan, the bell-ringing (Joya no Kane) is held at midnight, but most Buddhist temples in the U.S. hold it earlier in the evening.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo


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