New Year’s Eve is surprisingly mild and pleasant, though by the time we get out to the house there are scraps of last week’s snow around, and it’s cold enough. We’re staying three nights this time, so the place might be able to warm up a bit. We sit in in the kotatsu and listen to “Kohaku” onthe radio over dinner.
The first is misty and drizzly. It rains all day so we sit in the kotatsu and get stiff legs.
The second is sunny and mild. Walk to the local shrine to pay our respects. Burn some old wood. By 4 it’s pretty cold again.
The morning of the third is white with frost and there’s a clear blue sky which lasts all day, though the air is cold. I clip a few of the tea bushes before we leave early – we’re off on a trip tomorrow to “Amano Hashidate”. See three big white egrets on the way home. There are several “for sale” signs – I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad.
Min. temp. -4°C, max. 7°C
The end of January to early February is usually the coldest part of winter, and this week has not disappointed us. Sunday starts out vaguely sunny but clouds over on our way into Gifu.
Chocolate is already appearing in the supermarkets, ready for February 14th!
See girls in kimono for “seijinshiki” – officially tomorrow.
A big grey heron flies over us in the village below the house. Is that the same one that visited us a couple of weeks ago? They’re not so common round here.
Around 5PM it starts to snow.
Monday is clear but cold with some of that snow still on the ground. A bit more blows in from the north.
I spend a couple of hours clipping the tea bushes – just to keep it in shape, T. only picks a little of it. There are still many more bushes to do, but it’s cold.
Min. temp. -5°C, max. 6°C
Of course this is winter and it’s supposed to be cold. Inhabitants of the U.S. Midwest or Eastern Siberia would laugh at our complaints, and at least there’s a bit of sun.
On the road out, everyone suddenly slows down – there’s one of those big white motorbikes in front of us. The police have switched their Sunday speed trapping to our side of the road. Must watch out in future.
At least at this time of year things don’t get mouldy. The kitchen sponge is frozen.
At last some of the persimmons left on the tree have been eaten. They’ve gone soggy and are probably now sweet. It was probably birds, though monkeys like them too.
I practice guitar a bit (Kyoto gig next week), dispose of the Raffles’ kitchen waste in the compost bin; it starts sprinkling snow at 4:00 and we head back to Nagoya, where it’s not quite as cold.
Min. temp. -5°C, max. 5°C