I hate the cold, so don’t ask me why I went to the snowiest possible place for New Years. New Years in Japan is like Christmas in the U.S., only without all the presents and with better food. So I went to Hokkaido, where there was a ton of snow and we mostly stayed inside and drank beer. Once that ran out, we drank wine. On New Year’s eve, we ate long soba to ensure a long life, and the next morning sticky mochi rice in soup, which is about the best way to guarantee a short life. That stuff’s like eating white Playdough. Two weeks ago my friend’s uncle died when a clump of mochi rice stuck in his throat and he couldn’t breathe. This happens every year in Japan. You gotta love tradition.
Highlights of the trip, other than freezing my ass off, included going to the Sapporo Brewery for sukiyaki and beer, and on the last day going skiing. It’s refreshing to get some exercise. After skiing, we came home and had beer–also quite refreshing–along with sushi and sake and passed out on the floor. So basically, I can’t remember any of Sapporo, but I’m told I had a great time. I got back yesterday, and was greeted by a small earthquake. Or maybe I was still drunk, I don’t know. We haven’t had too many earthquakes lately, which is okay by me. Actually, since I now live out in the the rice paddies even if we had an earthquake it would probably just knock over a barn or something. At Christmas time, I taught the local farm kids about Santa Claus, but all they wanted to know was what happens when the flying reindeer take a dump. Jeez, Japanese kids.