明けましておめでとう！Happy New Year!
We got our year started with steaming bowls of ozoni, served in special Oshogatsu Pokemon bowls, of course.
Then we were off on a Mama-venture, code for trips that involve lots of travel and little planning. Sebastian said he wanted to see mountains and Nico said he wanted to see snow so without further ado, we were off to Nagano.
We lighted in Nagiso, a small town known for lovely onsens and their tradition of wood turning (i.e., making beautiful bowls and trays from the local forest). There is also a trailhead for the Nakasendo, an old post road that connected Tokyo to Kyoto. I thought that is where we could get our bit of mountain-intake but Nico's wish for snow came true and we were not wearing snowshoes (or boots for that matter) so we had to content ourselves with walking around the small town.
Nagiso looks like it would be very nice to visit, you know, on a non-major holiday when everything was shuttered. They had a pedestrian suspension footbridge that crossed the town's namesake river, the Kiso. The kids played for a bit in a park where they were obviously preparing (though there was no one there) for a bonfire with a daruma perched on top of a tall stalk of bamboo.
The kids had at least fifteen snowball fights while we were in Nagiso, which was really exciting for them.
In the end, we took an express train home as the sun was setting and ended up eating fast food for dinner. This was another highlight of the day for the kids since fast food has been somewhat banned from our diets.
All in all, a good start to the year. Here's to 2012! (she says, raising her glass of water) The best to you and yours in this new year!