06 January 2013

An Alternative New Year

This year instead of going to a bar packed to the ceiling with people and attempting to break a personal record for how much fizzy bubbly I can consume in one night I did something very different. I've never been the biggest fan of New Year's anyway (10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1! Oh nothing happened...) so when my friend Kanade asked me if I would like to climb a mountain with her on New Year's I thought "Why not? In fact... Hell yeah! I'll make that mountain my bitch!" So on New Year's Eve I travelled to her house on the northern side of the city armed with warm clothes, a bottle of port, cloves, cheese and olives. 

From her apartment we popped over to her parents house five minutes up the road and had traditional toshikoshi New Year's Eve soba noodles and watched Kouhaku; a New Year's Eve singing contest that I can only describe as Japan's version of the Eurovision i.e. ridiculous outfits, some cheesy songs and, of course, scantily clad ladies. Highly entertaining. After the countdown we clinked our chai-rums (freakin' delicious), shared our resolutions (mine is to stop saying awesome because I'm really starting to annoy myself and was one I broke repeatedly on the way up the mountain) and then went to sleep.

Four and half hours later we woke bleary eyed and dressed in our warm gear and packed our supplies. Supplies: 1 ground sheet; for sitting, 2 blankets; for sitting on the ground sheet, 1 sleeping bag; for outer warmth, 1 thermos of tasty hot port; for inner warmth, 2 torches, 1 lunch box of sushi; for nom noms, 1 bag of rice crackers, 1 bottle of water. Armed with supplies and wearing as many layers as physically possible we walked the dark streets of Hiroshima in the quiet and gentle snow and arrived at a temple where 50 or so other people were waiting for the fire department volunteer to begin the climb up the mountain. Off we went.

The descent took a little over an hour and wasn't particularly difficult (that's 'cause I'm totes hardcore huh!) The snow as we climbed was absolutely beautiful and as we approached the summit and the sky became lighter the sight of the city below still lit up and bathed in mist caused me to break my New Year's resolution several times with its awesomeness. At the top we sat and drank and munched and waited for the sun to pop it's head over the mountains. The first sunrise of a New Year, known as Hatsuhinode. Never before have I taken so many pictures of the sun.



After we climbed back down the mountain we went back to Kanade's lovely parents' house again and this time we ate osechi; a traditional New Year's Day meal and had a small cup of sake. The whole experience was very Japanese in every way and utterly amazing.

Get a load of that deliciousness. Mmmmm...


  1. You got to do lots of traditional stuff, cool! I kinda...didn't...lol. So Ima happy for ya! Awesome ;)


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Maira Gall