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Spare a thought for traditional 'shimekazari'

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For graphic designer Sumako Mori, 47, her busiest time is the week-long, year-end and New Year's holiday season. She travels around the nation in search of expertly-crafted "shimekazari" ornaments made of "shimenawa" (rice-straw rope) and decorated with various items that are believed to bring good luck, and hung on the doors of private homes and businesses.

"Everybody takes down their shimekazari as soon as the holiday season is over," Mori explained. "During my annual trip, I practically have my nose pressed to the train window, hoping to spot some interesting pieces along the way. I try to keep my train transfers as brief as possible, so I'll have more time to explore stores and open-air stalls selling those ornaments."

Over the........

© The Asahi Shimbun