Migochi shrine is the largest and most important shrine in Yosano, and is the focus of many of the town’s ceremonies. The large dog painting symbolises that this year (2018) is the Year of the Dog - a Chinese tradition that has been incorporated into Japanese culture. However, the mix of local and imported customs can sometimes get a little confusing. Japan uses the Western calendar, and therefore celebrates New Year on January 1st (unlike in China or Korea). But a different calendar, using the Emperor’s reigning year, is widely used, meaning that 2018 is commonly referred to as Heisei 30. Just to make things slightly more confusing, the fiscal year starts on April 1st, which is in turn both the time when many people change jobs and the start of the school year. If the mix of Japanese, Chinese and Western calendars all sounds very confusing - and sometimes it is - it at least ensures that the next holiday, festivity or administrative upheaval is never too far away.