In Japan, New Year's isn't just about the dropping of the ball. It's the turning of a new leaf, and with it come numerous traditions from fortune telling to warding off evil spirits and drawing cute anime girls on wooden plaques... Wait, what?
The notorious "ita-ema" (痛絵馬) are back again this year in full force at the Kanda Shrine near Japan's geek mecca, Akihabara. Japanese blog Hachima Kikou collected pictures of the various ita-ema at the shrine from around the twitter-sphere.
What is usually a custom for writing wishes and requests to the Shinto gods, like prayer notes in the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, in the recent years, ita-ema have evolved (devolved?) into artists and geeks simply writing down random messages. One elaborate ita-ema even had a relief of Shimakaze from Kan Colle, showing some of the creative and funny ways people express their hope for good fortune, good health, and general geekdom.
I should go put one up...