Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snow!! Visiting the Grandparents...

So this past week I went waaaay up north (in Japan) to visit some relatives for the holidays. In Japan, Christmas isn't really a big deal the way it is back home. Yes, they go crazy with decorations and it seems oh so Christmasy here, but really, it's just a day for couples and a day to buy and eat a Christmas cake. Hey, most of them are not Christians, so why would they celebrate it, right?

The big deal here is New Year's day! That's the family get together day full of tradition and (I guess religion in a way too cause they visit shrines/temples)

So the last three years I spent my New Years with my family, but this year my trip was to be cut short because of my mother's work schedule... So I spent New Years at home, which was weird cause usually my family took care of the decorations, food, all the things and I just relaxed and enjoyed it all... This year, I tried to do it here too, unsuccessfully by the way, to make the "toshikishi soba" (passing of the year soba noodles), mochi, and all that stuff. At least visiting the temple was nice... I got a bad usual... and traded it for one that was a bit better (lol!!)

Anyway, seeing that it doesn't snow here in the Tokyo area, I was happy to be in the snow and the quiet country side... I loved it, it was so quiet and white all over.

outside my grandparent's house

I even went to an onsen (hot spring bath) at night. For those of you who don't know what an onsen is, it's like a public bath house. Theres a pool like tub full of water from the hot springs (do you see all those mountains in the back of the pic? oh yeah, lots of hot springs!!) and there are mini shower stalls where you first clean your self, then go in the onsen to enjoy the benefits of the hot spring water that's supposed to be good for your skin.

Some have different types of saunas too, but the one we went to was a small one. This pic was taken outside the door of the onsen.

Luckily for me, there were only two people in when we got there and they both left soon after, so I didn't have to look at naked old ladies too long lol... (it can be awkward in the beginning. I'm kinda used to it now) So.... I know... I was bad, but I tried to sneak some shots of the view. It was so nice. Unfortunately, it was so steamy in there, my lens just fogged up and everything was a blur. 

But if you can see, there are huge windows that let you see outside when you sit in the bath, and we had a pretty view of a garden covered in snow =)

I really wish I could have stayed longer.... Then again, I was freezing my butt off..... lol, anyway Happy New Year everyone!!! Hope you got to spend this holiday with your loved ones and had a great time.

Till next time,