27 December, 2016

Winter holidays

We returned on Christmas Eve from our holidays and time has flashed past since then. I've not felt a significant desire to get back on the computer to do work and even blogging has seemed like too much effort. Relaxing, I guess that's what it's called!

In any case I've had to come back to the computer today to do some time-sensitive desktop publishing, so I thought I might as well show you some of our holiday photos.

We were at a place called Miyota, north-west of Tokyo. Our holiday accommodation was on the foot of an active volcano and looked over a valley. The view wasn't stunning, but we could see the horizon, which is a lot better than we usually can manage.
Sunset from our verandah across the valley.
From the local park you could see fields and the valley one way.
And Mt Asama, the other way.
Even "big" boys can have fun in a little park.
Mt Asana, "our" volcano, from a local park that we walked to a couple of times.
Our accommodation. We occupied the top floor, a four-bedroom apartment with a loft that made a fifth bedroom.
Driving home at sunset one afternoon the views across the valley were delightful.
We went to a neighbouring town for ice skating one sunny afternoon (every morning we took very slow and I spent a lot of time reading). I stayed off the ice, but it was lovely being out there in not-so-cold weather (it was about 10C).
Alas our time at the rink was shortened by a tumble that split the chin of our eldest son. We visited the local hospital and I did a 40 min round trip back to our accommodation to get our health insurance. Turns out he didn't have stitches, but they
deftly put the skin back together with just tape (as far as we know, a little bit of information could have gotten lost in translation).
Three days later our eldest's jaw was good enough to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, our yearly tradition. The restaurant specialises in cook-you-own-meat BBQ, but there was plenty of other Japanese food around including rice, noodles, curry, fried chicken and seafood, spaghetti and bolognese sauce. With all-you-can-drink soft drink, tea, and coffee as well as ice cream, dessert, and fairy floss, we had quite the feast and four hours to enjoy it (we ran out of steam at about the 2-hour mark).
This is the main living area of the holiday accommodation. Behind the camera was a small lounge. Up the stairs is a loft area where our middle son spent most of his time. The bathroom was behind that wooden door in the centre of the picture and the bedrooms to the left and right of the photo. It is much more well insulated than our Tokyo house and so, once it warmed up, was delightful. No shivering while getting undressed for the shower or changing out of pjs in the morning. Even the toilet room was warm!
Home-made fruit mince pies! Yum. Recipe for the pastry in my next post.
One of my big goals was to read! I read all these in six days. The top one was a read-aloud for the family. I read about two chapters after lunch and dinner each day (except at the restaurant). The second from the top I read in under 12 hours on our last full day there. Reading in bed is my best relaxation tool and I used it to the full these holidays. I've long loved these winter school holidays in Japan. The sun gets up late and it's cool enough to lounge in bed for hours.

We're back in Tokyo now and have another eight and a half days of holidays before school starts again. It's still slow starts and lots of reading, with a little bit of work (for the adults) slipped in the middle. Recharging for the busy months ahead is our motto.

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