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Photo Journal: O New Year's Tree, O New Year's Tree

Rice flour is used to make balls that are painted in festive colors and affixed to Japanese clover branches to resemble rice grain hanging heavy on stalks -- a symbol of prosperity -- at Kinomiya Shrine in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture. The arrangements are considered to be signs of good fortune, and are put up at New Year's. They are adorned with tags praying for the safety of one's family and prosperous business dealings, among other common wishes. The making of the rice balls, called "mayu dama," or "silk larvae balls," has been a tradition in Atami since silk cultivation flourished there in the Taisho era. (Mainichi)

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