Monday, February 21, 2011


Another year has begun. New Year's Eve is a big family holiday here, much more like Christmas for many people in Canada - a day to stay home with your family, and eat a traditional annual feast. Christmas, oddly, is more like Valentine's Day - as in, a day on which you're not supposed to be without a date. Anyway, expecting that everyone would be at home with their families, we didn't expect to find much excitement on New Year's Eve. We ended up finding some pretty big parties, though! The most interesting action was happening at the largest local temple. After the countdown at a bar, we wandered over to the temple to find a full on festival happening. People selling food, having drinks, keeping warm by large bonfires, walking through rings of fire to purify themselves at the start of the new year, and making the all important first prayer of the year. Tara and I fortunately had one lucky 5 yen coin between us, and tossed it in for good luck in the coming year. So far, so good!

The winter holiday gave us time to try skiing. Probably the first time in more than 10 years for both of us! Don't be fooled by my confident pose, Tara is the superior skier. In fact, she gave me a few lessons on the bunny hill runs before we tried the steeper slopes.

Ooh, photo effects!
Don't be fooled by my Canadian Olympic hat. I did not make the team…
this year.

The snowy mountain. It goes up and up and up into the fog. It was beautifully mystical, shrouded in fog, and covered in snow.

Mmm, delicious looking, frosted trees in Nagano prefecture. Nagano really resembles Canada. It made me feel kind of like I had gone back home for the afternoon. But we also had much more snow in Ichinomiya this year than any other year that I have lived here. (Photos in following post).

1 comment:

Vince said...

I saw pictures of trees in japan so covered in snow they didn't even look like trees anymore.

How do they rate the hill difficulties there?