As opposed to akemashite omedeto which is happy new year and I will say tomorrow.
The girls and I are in Fukushima with K's parents while K is at home in a nice quiet and sparkling clean (we did the traditional osoji end of year cleaning before we came) home by himself.
The weather in Fukushima can't make up it's mind- rain sleet snow sleet rain sunny rain sleet cloudy- and that was just the morning.
We have been making the most of the non precipitous patches and have walked to the supermarket twice, walked to K's old school (200 and something kids versus Meg's 800 odd she was well chuffed that she goes to a much bigger school) to play in the playground, practised skipping on the road outside the house as a) there's only one more house until the road stops and b) there is zero yard. Really, zero. Then we started playing a game sitting on a gardener's wheeled trolley stool thing and whizzing down the driveway onto the road but the girls kept falling off (to their amusement) but they were wearing complete outfits of new clothing from their grandma and I felt that the muddy bums and knees on day 1 was a tad disrespectful so we stopped that to much dissent.
We are getting the full works traditional Japanese New Year with mochi rice cake making this morning, mochi eating at breakfast, lunch and dinner, a karuta game with everyone playing this afternoon and lots of talking about how great it is to be Japanese all through out the day. Grandpa seems quite convinced that they may have two passports, speak English and look a little foreign but if he can just ensure their mind is 100% Japanese he has done his job. I let him have his way as he sees them about 10 days a year and I can spend the other 355 feeding them vegemite, singing tie me kangaroo down sport and dressing them in coloured undies (shock!) and uggboots (inside- shock!) The girls are inturn bemused and amused by the constant stream of trivia and quiz questions- what are the two kanji that make up new year in Japanese? What Chinese zodiac is it next year? What Chinese zodiac year were they born in? What is the full name of this year in the Japanese calendar? What is the special name for NYE? Why do we eat soba/ mochi/ beans/ amazake at new year? It's quite an education...
I'm sure it's a pretty big intrusion into the rhythm of my in-laws usually quiet and peaceful life to have the three of us here for five days and especially with K staying home on neighbourhood committee duties so I really appreciate it. Especially as Meg and Amy don't see either set of grandparents more than a couple of times a year.
That said though I am dangerously close to my gooey rice cake limit for the season and the real rice cake eating traditions don't even start until tomorrow. Remind me to secret away some muesli, brown rice and non-pickled vegetables in my handbag next time!
Here's to a fabulous, fun, friend-filled, happy, healthy and harmonious year of the rabbit for all.
Yoi Otoshi O