It happened again. There are matsuris (festival type things) for every special occasion in Japan, the two biggest are in summer and of course, the week of New Year's (Dec. 31st through to Jan. 5th -ish.)
It's tradition here for people to visit the shrine, say a prayer for the new year and get their year's fortune. Those are the things adults think about. Kids, on the other hand, well all they see is yet another opportunity to pay an exorbitant fee to play some totally rigged "game" promising them a Wii or or Playstation for a prize. My boys are no exception - nay, they are the presidents of the fan club of this phenomenon.
My Boy 3, paid about $6 to catch three plastic fish in a shitty net. Now, if by some miracle, your three fish all have the same number on them, you win a trip to Hawaii (okay, some battery operated toy) but if you don't, you win a free meal at your favorite restaurant (a defective Rubik's Cube.) So my Boy 3, full of hope catches his three fish. Shock, horror! They all have different numbers on them!
I snapped the above pic during the 4 agonizing minutes it took for him to decide between a water gun, bubble wand and plastic samurai sword.
I should note that he ended up deciding on a plastic sword with a hot pink (his current favorite color - don't judge!) sheath and all was right again in his world. Until we told him he couldn't eat a gigantic bag of hot pink cotton candy by himself.