Friday, December 29, 2006

what the...? windchill?

Brr, I just turned on the heat. I'm not complaining at all since this is the best winter I've ever experienced, but it is odd too see a windchill factored into the temp here! It's currently 6C but 1C if you do the wc thing. Anyway the bizarreness is heightened by the fact that two days ago it got up to 21C and yesterday to 16C. It's some weird strong wind that's wreaking these extremes, I suspect. It started Monday, a nasty rainy day that ended with a thunderstorm overnight, after which the clouds got whipped away and all week the sky's been blue as blue can be.

And blue skies are a nice way to start the New Year. Maybe we'll indulge in the Japanese tradition of waking up at dawn on Monday to watch the first sunrise of the year. The biggest holiday in Japan, New Year's has so many traditions attached to it that there is no way we could keep up, so we're picking just a few.

The celebrations actually started earlier this month with Bonenkai or "Forget-the-year" parties which are typically dinner and drinking with friends/colleagues. Unfortunately we were only invited to one at the very last minute last night and I wasn't home so Aran couldn't give the embassy an answer right away so they said they'd call someone else (they were desperately trying to fill the spot of someone who cancelled at the last minute). Damn, I really wanted to go to one! Maybe we'll get invited to a Shinenkai (New Year) party, within the next couple of weeks.

The one thing we are definitely doing is spending Ōmisoka (New Year's eve) at our friends' place (she's Japanese, he's French Canadian) where a small group of us will be eating the traditional toshi-koshi soba noodles, whose length symbolizes "crossing over from one year to the next," the meaning of toshi-koshi. Perhaps we'll accompany the noodles with some champagne so as to blend the cultures comme il faut!

I think Alain also wants to go to a shrine or temple with them on Monday morning for Hatsumairi, the first visit of the year. I'm opting out of that however, because a) I don't want to sightsee during an important religious occasion and b) the crowds will be huge, which I don't really dig. Meiji, a famous shrine in Harajuku, not too far from here, receives several MILLION visitors during the first 3 days of the year. Whoa.

Anyway I just wanted to share the Japanese essence of the New Year holidays with you: It is now time to leave the old year's worries and troubles behind (and clean the house like crazy and start cooking lots of complicated food). The brand new year is arriving with the chance to start afresh. Yoi otoshi o - have a great New Year.


Carol sis!
Sounds like you guys will have an exciting New Years! Bonenkai! I heartily agree with that one! 2006 can't be over fast enough for me!

Bonnee Annee and lots of love to you both!

happy new year kyaroru-san! *^-^*

i found a neat page on new year's expressions and how to write the typical new year's postcard.

hey, have you heard of my sister in england just introduced me to it today - could be a good way for you to make good (FREE) calls to us overseas folk using your landline (if you get as frustrated with skype as i do you'll probably dig this)!

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