By Dave Itzkoff – NY Times

It is not uncommon for people to react with awe to their first up-close encounter with a balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But when Takashi Murakami saw his contributions to Thursday’s event, he bowed. Twice.

On Wednesday afternoon, on a stretch of West 81st Street in Manhattan where brightly colored, 30-foot-tall inflatable versions of his characters Kaikai and Kiki were wriggling and writhing underneath a huge net, Mr. Murakami, the Japanese pop artist, held a brief Shinto ceremony for purity and luck. He stood at a table where he poured out a glass of water and a glass of sake in front of two plates, one of white rice and one of sea salt. He gave two bows and clapped twice, then declared the ritual complete. [Read More]