Last year, I managed to wake myself up early enough to see the first sunrise of the year , because I managed to convince myself that it was "research" for writing my fanfic. This is a Japanese custom known as Hatsuhi (初日 - literally "first day"), where people will go outside, often together, to catch the first rays of light of the new year. I didn't have a blog last year to share this on, but I did write an account in an email to a friend.
If you did watch the Rose Parade [in 2013], you may have noticed
that it was not particularly sunny, but the weather wasn't bad -- just a
broken altostratus deck. So there was a good chance that I would see new sun as it shed the first light on the new year.
I woke up at around 6:50, and threw on a flannel shirt over my
flannel pajamas. When I first woke up, the sky was still dark enough
that I could see a couple of planets, but dark clouds obscured most
everything but the bright gibbous moon. I got out a ladder and set it
up against the house -- the lightest part of the sky was behind the
orange tree, so I had to climb up to get a better view.
The black shingle of the roof was cold to the touch, but the wind
was calm, and I still warm from bed. I ambled up the the apex of the
garage, so as not to wake anyone up, and turned towards the eastern
sky. There were still a lot of trees -- more than I had thought there
were in my neighborhood -- but it was obvious from the clouds that I
wasn't going to see sunrise directly. The appointed time, 7:03, came
and went, with only a slight brightening of the eastern sky. Of course,
I thought -- the sun's gotta rise above the Santa Monica Mountains. I
did a quick calculation: 3° above the horizon is about 10 minutes -- and
settled down to wait.
A pair of crows joined me on a nearby power line, staring eastward
too. The sky started to brighten as the sunlight filtered to the
bottom of the clouds, and suddenly the gloomy sky was replaced with a
warm glow. Everything started to come alive, and the finches started
singing their calls, telling all of the other birds, "Hark, awaken, for a
new day has come, everyone be excited. I'm going to tweet to everyone I
know, Happy New Year! Hey everyone, wake up!" And then of course,
they stopped, because everyone knows only 140 characters can fit into a
The crows, whom by this point I had nicknamed Phobos and Deimos,
awaited the sunrise. And then, finally, the bottom of the clouds at the
horizon was lined with a golden glow. And, that was it. Phobos cawed
to Deimos, "Huh, is that it?" They looked on for a moment more, before
the reply came from Deimos, "Yeah, I guess that's all it's gonna be."
Some crows in the large ficus behind us called out, and my crow friends
departed to join their friends for the day.
But, I had gotten up especially for this, so I was undeterred. It
looked like a break in the clouds was up a little bit further, and I was
definitely going to catch the first rays of sun. A man passed by,
walking a dog, disturbing the canine living next door. I took the
chance to look at the hills, and the sky, and the strip of ocean to the
south. Things really do look different from up high, so I took in the
view of the house's roofs as a pair of house finches zoomed by me.
And then, ten minutes later, the sun finally broke through the
clouds -- well -- partially. It was still obscured by the clouds, so I
couldn't see the golden disk. But I saw a bright enough glow to etch
the afterimage into my eyes. I blinked, and the image of the sun's
light through the clouds formed a shape that looked exactly like this:
^_^ The sun had smiled upon my weeaboo endeavor, and blessed me with
an Asian smiley for the new year. And with that, I accepted the
blessing and headed back down to a warm bed.