This is the time of year for me at which I most long for being in Japan again. Christmas is generally better in America, but New Year's is definitely better in Japan. The picture above is the selection of snacks that one could buy in one of the Meiji shrine shops on New Year's day. My husband and I went there the year before we left (2011) and got this shot of the sorts of snacks on offer.
As you might guess even if you can't understand the Japanese or make out what is in the bags, these are all rather old-fashioned snacks. I think that they are designed largely with older folks in mind or to evoke a sense of nostalgia from people who went there as children. Note that I do not recall seeing Pocky at Meiji shrine, though I'm pretty sure I saw it at kiosks at at least one of the other shrines I went to during my time in Japan (definitely at one in Kamakura and possibly at Yasukuni).
Happy New Year to all of my readers. I hope that the year ahead brings you many positive changes and challenges as well as good health and fortune.