Every year, I celebrate the new Year Japanese style now. All night parties and smooching at midnight are far behind me.
New Year in Japan is a more solemn family occasion. I wrote in this in more detail way back in 2000 (see The Millenium).
Now every year I make heaps of food before Jan 30th so that I don’t have to cook during the holiday and I attempt to clean the house while the wee ones mess it up right behind me.
Watching the first sunrise of the year is also a custom and in this town, they have made an event of it. Everyone gathers at 6am (remember in winter it is still DARK and COLD) way out in the mountains and we trek up this mountain. It’s not big but it sure feels that way at 6am.
Every year, my best friend and I do this but this year I decided to take Sprout and she invited a friend. My best bud wanted to take her niece and nephew (featured in various Halloween posts on this blog).
I woke up at 4:30 and debated not going. The city had issued a heavy snowfall warning but Sprout was so looking forward to this, I took my chances. I AM Canadian after all. Heavy snowfall to the Japanese is a flurry to us right? Well sort of. They should have issued a “bloody cold wind” warning.
We left town at 5:15- actually ON TIME!
but our other friends had slept in leaving us to get to the mountain late! We had to hurry up. I can’t believe it but Sprout made it all the way up on her own power!
We got there just as the sun was to come up BUT it was hiding behind the snow and clouds. There was tons of snow and big bonfire and hot coffee (and sake) at the top. The kids got to work and the adults toasted the new year.
One cool thing to note is that the big boy in the picture is the little fellow I used to take trick-or-treating. He’s all grown up now and in high school.
The little girls adored him and he has become a fine young man.
He lead them in the snowman sculpting and they made this…