Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ratty New Year

As I've mentioned before, the Japanese New Year is centred on mochi roulette with a spot of kamikaze mountaineering.

This year was no exception, sadly.

Actually, most people laze around for a week eating and drinking too much, but that is too mundane to blog about.

Much of the motivation for the winter mountaineering seems to be the desire to see the first sunrise of the year from a summit (and best of all, from the top of Fuji) but we don't have the necessary genetic inheritance for that particular foible and settled on visiting a mountain called Hinode (sunrise). It's the thought that counts, after all. We didn't even go on the first, but waited until yesterday. We did get up before sunrise if that helps.

Behind jules, the neighbouring mountain of Mitake-san has a little village on top. It has a shrine, hotels, shops and restaurants, some roads and even a fire station. Curious thing is...the road does not connect down to the bottom of the valley, so presumably all the vehicles are carried up and down on the cable car! Needless to say, we walked, and earned our reward of a soak in the onsen near the train station at the end.

Curiously, just like two years ago when we met a dog right at the start of the year of the dog, we saw some rats at the start of the year of the rat. I'd better leave before the year of the dragon!

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