Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year Shrine Visit, Amy

Amy wore a kimono on New Year's Day, one of the few occasions these days that girls can wear one. She's big enough now to fit into a women's size, which was the cause of great disappointment for her in November when we dressed Lena for the 7-5-3 festival, and none of the kimonos fit her. But she made up for it today! Here she is outside Nakatsu Shrine.

At the Shrine.

Washing hands to purify themselves before entering the shrine. Look at all the people gawking at Amy, you'd think they'd never seen a kimono before!

Ringing the bell to get the god's attention before offering prayers.

Rushing not towards the castle, but towards the little red box, where a little mechanical princess brings out your forture for 100yen.

Tying the fortune to a tree in the shrine grounds guarantees good luck. We chose the pine, despite the difficulty of negotiating its prickly needles. Yokomatsu means 'by the pines'.

Erica joining another family, much to their surprise!

After the Shrine

The girls with their Dad. Technically this is just before we went to the shrine, not that that makes the slightest difference...

And with their Mum.

After the shrine we indulged in what has a become a New Year ritual and a way to escape all that osechi and sukiyaki - a trip to the ice cream store, where Amy was, yet again, unsurprisingly, the centre of attention with all eyes on her. She hardly noticed, I think she used to be stared at.



Lucky Bags

Short-sleeve top: 2520. Jeans: 3,045. Skirt: 2520. Jacket: 4095. Long sleeve: 2.520. Total: 5000. Yes, that doesn't add up. That's a Lucky Bag!! Plus it came in a cloth bag that I will be able to use again.

Mine. I very rarely get one, they don't usually have one in my size, and the usually have a jacket, and I don't want a new jacket every year. This one was from Youme Town, I think it was 5000, for six pieces, jacket, long-sleeve top, sweater, floral top, check shirt and tights.

This jewellery and hair accessories one was 1000 - pretty good considering the clips sell for 3-500 each, and the necklaces for 5-700. This was a genuine Lucky Dip - no peeping! But with four girls in the house, everything was bound to be claimed by someone!

1000 yen again. Amy and Lena got the tissue case and hair band, I needed the new cosmetics cases.

5000 yen for Amy and Lena's ones, including jeans, a lap blanket, jacket, plus a top and another hooded jacket and skirt.

We also got bedding sest - pillow, blanket, lap rug and duvet cover for 5000, Lilo and Stitch for Erica (she now LOVES her Stitch pillow) and Relakkuma for Lena.

A lot of people don't like Lucky Bags because, well, you don't get to choose what's in them. But I found that nearly all the bags this year are very clearly labeled, and they are so much cheaper than the rest of the year that is was worth getting one item or even two you didn't like all that much, just to get the good deal.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year

At the top, the mochi (pounded rice cakes) and citrus New Year decoration on the zashiki (formal room) tokonoma (alcove). Above, the osechi (New Year food) box and special occasion sake jug and sake-drinking saucers. Below, Amy has a sip. Not even a sip, it just touched their lips! This is the first thing we do on New Year morning, celebrate with a mouthful of sake!

Do I really have to drink this? Lena just touches a drop to her lip.

OZONI! Yummy soup with cabbage, spring onion and big fat mochi.

On Jan 2 we had sukiyaki for breakfast (below)! After all these years, and Baachan still thinks we eat meat all day long and can't eat anything else. Actually she really loves meat, I think she uses us as an excuse...but I felt sick at the thought of eating this so early, and told her that while we'd eat it anyway, we really don't like meat that much, and only eat it once a week or so!

Erica in her new cat outfit, playing in Jiichan's study

Jiichan cutting up the HUGE mochi. There were two in that box next to him.

Left, the snowman the girls made on chilly New Year's Eve. Right, Amy under the kotatsu, THE place to be on a cold winter night

Lena under the kotatsu too, and Erica went to sleep under it. She must be Japanese.

Gratuitous shot of cute bedhead. Right, getting home again plus New Year Lucky bags!