With party bookings at Raffles and the like, we only got out to the farm twice last December. Details:
- On Sunday the sun is warm enough in Nagoya, though there’s a cold wind blowing the clouds up.As we head north the clouds get thicker, the temperature drops and it really feels like winter. We finally arrive at the house, though, to be greeted by a beautiful golden sunset. It’s still cold so we crank up the oil fan heater and sit in the kotatsu.
- The deer (I suppose) have finally smashed down the nets that were round the chilli plants and eaten every last wilted leaf and half-rotten pepper. Not an Awful Warning for next year I hope.
- Get the Christmas cards written.
- Composting’s a bit of a chore in winter. The stuff doesn’t rot properly and stays smelly and disgusting, and your fingers freeze washing out the plastic buckets.
- So many jobs still to do:
-dig the chilli field
-clip the tea bushes
-prune the maples and other trees around the place that are getting out of control
-clean up the riverbank and roadside
- Min. temp. 3°C max. 14°C
- The winter suddenly kicked in on Friday with a nasty cold wind and a scattering of sleet, and Sunday is a grey winter day.
- No police on speed trap duty these days – too cold?
- The second supermarket is full of “mikans”, which are now in season. Eating mikans in the kotatsu is a traditional winter pastime, especially at New Year. They’re quite cheap too.
- We get a free pack of miso for our collected receipts or something. Miso might be exotic where you live but here fermented bean paste is an everyday ingredient like cottage cheese or peanut butter.
- Suntory Beer’s latest advertising slogan: “Let’s eat… at home.” No! NO!! What are they thinking of? Boosting their take-hme sales of cheap “happoshu” while putting out of business all the restaurants and bars they used to depend on! The truth is, Japanese, especially the young, don’t go out as much as they used to, and when they do they don’t spend money. That said, what business do Suntory have encouraging people to stay at home? Bah!
- We have “slush pot” (mizore nabe) for dinner – it gets its name from the mountain of grated “daikon” radish thet goes in the pot, and it’s very good. Along with that, “hoba-miso” which is found only in this area, Gifu. You put a big “ho” leaf on a charcoal burner and top it with a mixture of miso, chopped green onion, other vegetables or minced meat and a little sake and cook it till it’s bubbling and a little burnt underneath. The salty bits you pick off with your chopsticks go very well with rice. “Hoba-zushi” is another regional thing – sushi rice and fish – often salmon – are wrapped in the same “ho” leaves when the rice is still hot, and presed under a weight for a while. The leaves give the sushi a subtle fragrance, and help to preserve it apparently.
- A great bath, warms you up to the bones. It must be something to do with our well water. Rice cooked out here tastes better too.
- Kim Jong Il’s death is the main radio news on Monday.
- Digging the chilli field – the soil is heavy and I’ll probably have aching muscles tomorrow.
- Nearly forgot to let the water out of the system before leaving. You have to do that through the winter so it doesn’t freeze up while we’re away during the week.
- Min temp -3°C max 8°C