Sunday's post about miso soup made me think about the few days it snowed in Sakashita, so I thought I'd share a few pictures with you from both winter 2005 and 2006 of Sakashita.
The path down from my house (which was beside a Shinto shrine) to the road:
Detail of one of the posts
Looking towards the steps that led up to the shrine
Kids walking to school with umbrellas:
View of the river, Kawa Ue:
Winding through the foothills on the bus:
A house in Kawa Ue (the town up the mountain from us):
It was beautiful.
When I think back to winter in Japan, I think of my clear Bodum teapot, that was almost perpetually full of vanilla tea leaves. I think of a kitchen, so icily cold, that when I'd get home from work, I'd still be able to see my breath. I think of the oily smell of my kerosene heater for my living room.
I think of the darkness and the stillness and the loneliness.
And then I think of the peace and the strength it took to get through those cold (zero degrees inside and outside!), dark nights.
In the classrooms, there would always be one kerosene heater on low, and I would do my best to huddle as close to it as possible. Forget the students! I needed heat! At lunch time, the miso soup was my favourite part of the meal - it was the only thing I could guarantee would be hot.
Even more than miso soup, I loved it when they served oden, which is this stew with all sorts of simmered goodness in it. It bubbles away on the stove for the better part of 3 hours, which should give you some idea of just how infused with flavour it is!