Amy was sooooooo excited.
As a bona fide big girl school kid now she is invited to the whole shazam and not just the evening entertainment with the rest of the kinder kids.
8:30am they headed down to the community centre with their 300 yen to go around the neighbourhood collecting 300 yen from every house and all the new year's decorations and paper ready to fuel the bonfire.
They came back about 10:45 after having had a ball stuffing paper and big red daruma papier mache dolls into the bonfire pyre.
I chopped up a big bag of potato, daikon, sweet potato and carrot and come 12:00 they headed down to the community centre again for a New Year Party of sushi and fried food (Meg was wide-eyed in amazement as she reported that they had 'sushi AND fried food!!!!' poor deprived child...) and bingo.
They got back at 3:45 and we had to get ready for the whole family to go up to the temple grounds for the bonfire.
Traditionally the sankuro bonfire fare are little rice flour balls of gooeyness called mayudama. I tried to make these one year and it was a huge muck-around for not very delicious results. Two years ago I decided to rebel and took along marshmallows. It was a huge hit and I ended up being quite the contraband dealer sharing out our marshmallows.
Last year there were quite a few kids with marshmallows but still about equal numbers with mayudama.
This year? I saw one child with hand-shaped home-made mayudama. I also saw masses of marshmallows, sausages, cheese-filled fish sausages, mochi rice cakes, jacket potatoes, sweet potatoes and the odd dried-squid. I feel a little guilty that I've corrupted the neighbourhood.... but the kids are rapt and the mothers reckon it's so much easier!
Those vegetables I cut up in the morning became the basis for huge vats of pork and veg soup served off the back of a k-truck with chili powder which was the perfect antidote for a bitterly cold night.
The men had their own k-truck off in a corner serving 'hot water'. This do not drink and drive hot water stall used to be next to the pork soup but the fire brigade (who monitor all bonfires) commented that it wasn't appropriate to be serving hot water at a kids' event. Never mind- now the hot water is a good 50 steps away in a 'completely separate but simultaneous' event.
Heading off to sankuro- looking cute is more important than staying warm. Brrrrrr!
Meg went for the all-squished-together marshmallow method.
So hot we had to stand back- weird to be burning hot on your front and freezing cold on your back at the same time!
Amy refused to wear her snowboots and vehemently declared that she wouldn't be playing in the snow anyway. Yeah right.
I counted no less than 4 kids in their sneakers though so she was in good (albeit frigidly cold) company!
Let the cooking begin
Everyone watching the fire brigade. It scares me silly all that highly flammable ski-wear just centimetres from a bonfire....
And that was sankuro 2013. Done for another year. The countdown is on until I am one of the mums on the organising committee. Aghhhh!! Dum da da dum!