On Tuesday I went with my wife to visit her mother and grandparents in the southern region of Osaka called Kawachinagano. The area is fairy mountainous and had seen a lot of snowfall over the past week so looked very picturesque and it was a nice change from the urban landscape.
While we were there we ate far too much food and my mother in law gave us a wonderful tea set from the Ippodo tea company which includes a much needed teapot for brewing green tea. About a year ago we visited the main Ippodo tea shop in Kyoto where you can sample many varieties of green tea and have a demonstration of the proper way of preparing it in their cafe.
New Year's food.
We also stopped off at a traditional Japanese sweet shop while in Kawachinagano to buy presents. The people there were kind enough to give us a free gift of New Years plum tea which comes with a good luck fortune, surprisingly it was almost exactly the same as the one I had received with my Daruma monk a month ago! The plum tea was very salty and tasted more like soup than tea, it also had flecks of gold floating in it!
I have enjoyed my first New Year in Osaka since moving here and am feeling positive about the year ahead, whatever it may bring! I am especially looking forward to the arrival of spring and the warm weather, despite it only having been cold here for about a month.