Friday, April 30, 2010

A Beautiful Winter's Morning in Sapporo

30th December, 2004 - It's a cold, but clear Sapporo winter morning. The penultimate day of the year. A light snow covers the cars, the garden is now well and truly in hibernation underneath it's protective shrouds which had been put on about two months earlier.

The world looks different than it had in Autumn when we were last here.

Yet today is a day of preparation... We've an important job to do. To prepare the Mayudama. Mayudama is a very old custom of attaching ball-like ornaments to branches for hanging at New Years time. Depending on who you believe, they represent either mochi (rice cakes) or silkworm cocoons. If the former they are called mochibana (which are larger). Either way they are meant to represent prosperity for the new year.

I'm not entirely sure what all the other items are supposed to signify however... overall, it feels a bit like decorating the Christmas Tree - but an "olden time" Christmas Tree. Actually these ones are a little strange. They come as two semi-spheres, and you glue them together (around a branch) by adding water to one surface which must soften/break down the chemical bonds allowing them to re-form once you bring the two halves together. It was fun, if a little odd.

Some of us however were less than impressed by the effort. Momo (T-chan's cat) was more concerned about soaking up the suns rays. What a life!

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