I had completed seven or eight New Year’s Day sunrises before learning the Japanese have a word for exactly that—hatsuhinode, the first sunrise of the new year.
It all started on a whim. With a new car, a new camera (to me), and growing tired of the late night New Year’s Eve celebrations, I was looking to start a tradition of my own. I didn’t sleep that night. I picked up my friend dear friend Jen, and we drove through the night, before taking a brief nap in a cold car to catch sunrise on January 1, 2013.
I have now watched and photographed the first sunrise of the new year for an entire decade. Without question, it is one of the most important rituals and traditions I’ve ever had.
Eleven years later and I’m still doing it in the same jacket, with the same car, with the same camera. How many more consecutive sunrises I’ll watch, I’m not sure. But I may be celebrating hatsuhinode for a very long time. Or, maybe not. This is only the first iteration (and all too quick) of the feelings of this day, and there will hopefully be more to come.
Year of the Sunrise begins
Sunrise No. 1 • Whitefish Point
Sunrise No. 366 • Peninsula Point Lighthouse
Sunrise No. 732 • Cave Point Park
Sunrise No. 1,097 • Lake Park