Happy New Year from Japan!
It is really lovely to be here for this time of the year. The new year day is more atmospheric here. There are a lot to do to celebrate the day. Cleaning the house, having soba noodle near midnight before the date and making osechi, writing the new year greetings, visiting shrines and temples etc etc...

Anyway basically the first three days are holiday here and this year the 4th was Friday and soon came a weekend. So a lot of people seem to have had a long holiday. I also could meet up friends in Kyoto.
(more about the trip follows soon in another topic.)
This time in the city we tried making nerikiri, a kind of Japanese sweets for tea. A confectionery is giving lessons and we joined one. 
We used a few kinds of paste made from beans, rice or potato etc and made a few shapes representing the season. This time of the year it was botan (a kind of peony), matsu (pine tree) and aioi (celebrating colour combination of red and white). It was a bit like using soft clay but much more difficult as it's not plastic like clay and you have to handle the material that doesn't harden but you don't want your finger print on it. 
We managed to make 4 pieces being rather slow and had it with matcha! It was really fun and I now appreciate the craft skill in it more.


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