The Sapporo Snow Festival

(photo by nyarumera)
will be held from February 5th to 11th this year.
Have you every been?
The Japan Ground Self Defense Force starts working on
these huge snow sculptures in January.
(you can see the progress here.)
I haven’t seen the snow festival since junior high
when I lived in Sapporo with my family.
I think I need to plan another trip up north
to go see these snow sculptures one day soon.
Aren’t the details amazing?
(photo by nyarumera)

The Day in Miyagi

Our day helping out at the paprika farm
starts by waking up at 6:30 am.
(Although I hit snooze once…or sometimes twice.)

We eat breakfast at 7:00 am.

One of our local volunteer friends always lets us stay over.
We all really appreciate his hospitality.

We head to the volunteer center at 8:00 am.

The snow outside was amazing.
Everything was white and shimmering.

This is the old town hall that was damaged by the earthquake.
The deconstruction has started already.
We make our way to the site and start working at 9:00 am.
This day our job was to construct
the inner poles for three greenhouses.
We dug holes in the ground.
We hammered.
It was great.
I think I like manual labor.
We took a lunch break at 12:00 pm.
We always go to a local place to eat
and get to interact with the people there.
Everyone is so friendly.
We headed back to the site at 1:00 pm.
We ended for the day at 3:00 pm.
The sun sets a lot faster up north
so have to stop working pretty early.
But it felt good to be working outside under the sun!
And here is a picture of our team that day.

So this is a typical day volunteering in Yamamoto-cho.
It’s always a wonderful experience
working together as a team and seeing the improvements.
And above all, it’s a great feeling
to see the farmers smile with satisfaction.

The Snowy Day Lunch

It may have been a crazy day to go out for lunch.
But look at this great view we had of the snow outside!
I love this place because the place is spacious
and they have the yummiest foccacia.
And they can also make the meals vegetarian for you!
Great place to relax and talk for hours with your best of friends.
Which is exactly what Masa and I did on this snowy day!
Hotel Unizo 2F
4-3 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: 11am-11:30pm

The Old Photos: Sledding

One of the great things about going back home?
The old photo albums.
The boxes and boxes of photo albums.
And I thought I’d share a few sledding photos I found here.

This is the apartment we grew up in.
That’s me, my sister, and my dad.
The apartment had a tiny slope behind it and
my dad would use his shovel to make a sledding course
so it would be an awesome bumpy and curvy ride!
I have such good memories of playing in snow.
Sledding is the bomb when you’re seven.

The Snow in Tokyo

The first fall of snow is not only an event,
it is a magical event.

You go to bed in one kind of a world and
wake up in another quite different,

and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?

– J. B. Priestley
There’s something about snow that I absolutely love.
The white blanket.
The brisk air.
The quiet.
I still get excited over it.
So please please stay awhile.

That Year End Kyoto Walk in a Kimono

What do you do when your BFF is in Kobe
when you’re in Osaka?
Go to Kyoto together, of course!
We’ve always talked about renting a kimono for a day.
So we did exactly that…and had the best time!

Our first stop was Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺).

We were walking towards Gion when we spotted
a beautiful path with colored leaves.

It was freezing outside
and at one point, it started snowing.
But we had such a great time in our kimonos.
We are definitely doing this again. x