TOKYO (Reuters) – Dangling more than 50 meters above a busy Tokyo street, window cleaners dressed up as a boar and a rat on Thursday scrubbed windows at a downtown hotel ahead of the country’s New Year festivities.
In its seventh year at the Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo, the tradition echoes the custom of sprucing up the house at year-end, and comes as the international spotlight falls squarely on Japan as it prepares to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
With the Year of the Boar coming to a close, Tokyo stores are replete with Zodiac decorations featuring mouse motifs ahead of the Year of the Rat, traditionally a time for making wishes for the year ahead.
“Next year I hope to spend time with my family. It was a really busy year so I hope for a little calm next year,” said hotel employee Yuriko Sakaue, who gave birth to a daughter in May and was watching the costumed cleaners.
The event closes out a year in which Japan saw a new emperor ascend the throne and hosted the Rugby World Cup, which featured a break-out performance by the national team.
(Reporting by Akira Tomoshige and Hideto Sakai; Writing by Sam Nussey; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)