To continue the holiday mood a bit longer here are some pictures of our New Year here in Fukushima.
|In December took a little trip out of town to the farmhouse where they make traditional papier-mache dolls (Takashiba Deko Yashiki). These are little dragons for the Year of the Dragon.|
|On December 28th invited to watch people making 'mochi', sticky rice cakes for the NewYear.|
|The rice is soaked in water for 36 hours, then drained, and steamed in these cookers.|
|The cooked rice.|
|First, the rice is mixed and kneaded gently.|
|Then the fun begins. Two people beat the rice in rythm moving clockwise round the mortar.|
More difficult than it looks.
|And someone has the dangerous job of turning the rice from time to time.|
|At our host's insistence Reiko and I, very gingerly, have a go. (If you miss the rice and hit the mortar you can damage the hammer and get splinters in the rice. Determined not to fail!)|
|Our New Year food to go with the ricecakes (bought in not home-made I'm afraid). If Christmas Dinner is the ultimate Sunday lunch, then this 'o-setchi' New Year food must be the ultimate bento box.|
|On December 31st we skiied at Nekoma in Ura Bandai. Bowl shaped area with a variety of slopes.|
|Next day, New Year's Day, went higher up to Gran Deco ski resort. Great views, better (warmer) lifts, easier runs.|
|Then on our last day, 2nd January, we managed to walk the Five Ponds trail (Goshiki Numa).|
|The main lake, Rashomon, was frozen at the start of the walk but further on we could see the characteristic blue.|
|Someone else has been here ...|
|Back in Koriyama on the afternoon of the 2nd. People queueing up to pay their respects at the Hachiman Shrine.|
|My daughter's fortune - suekichi 末吉, 'the last of the good fortune'. Good luck, but not that good.|
Ah well, just mediocre good fortune sounds okay to me after the trauma of last year!