Monday, January 3, 2011

Family holiday....round one

Wow, the Hawgoods have gone away!

And, I mean all of us!! Husband, wife, puppy and hamster! We are all in the north west area of Japan, having taken the lovely Shinkansen up here. (we even had to buy a ticket for Elbi! Mimi was just a clandestine transportation! Nevertheless, we are all here warm and safe in our lodge in the mountain of Zao where the snow monsters live and the kokeshi dolls stare.
It is a magical land, and anywhere coated in snow, where the icicles hang from the roof of the sake house where we can drink late into the night all warm and cosy, thanks to the hot sulphuric hot spring just next door.

It is also the land where the odd, weirdly wonderful characters of the universe might live.

"Come into my shop," says the very old looking lady. Her face is withered with wrinkles, her smile is somehow welcoming. But, it was her sudden appearance at the dark, unlit shop, that was surely closed on this public holiday day, that startled and scared us. It was uncanny, it was unnerving but it was also the cutets thing to experience in a local village.

She welcomed us into her apparently 200 year old shop, (I believed this based on appearances alone!) and fed us some sweetened green bean. Was it safe? Was she part of a fairy tale and we were to be poisoned? Murdered? Lost in a snowy paradise forever?
No. We were to be somehow gently coerced into buying not just this random bean that had sugar on, but an old favourite called 'zunda mochi', the tone of which, exited her lungs with a pitch so high, the nightmares shall continue for the rest of the holiday!.


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