09.01.2007 -2 °C
As temperatures hovered around low single digits, the wind chill drove the cold home even further. I shuffled off to class each day looking more like a giant white beachball wearing a tie. I wore lay upon lay upon layer of clothes, scarfs, gloves and cap.
I walked the scenic route to work, it took an extra 10 minutes but it spared me the wind tunnels created by the high risers that reached into the clouded sky and pulled the frigid air down.
The tree lines roads that had been a blaze of colour now held the skeletal corpses of trees; their naked branches rasping together like the fingers of icy Death.
X-mas had been quiet and subdued. Unlike the smell of sunscreen and beach, sausages roasting on a beer-washed hotplate; Osaka was filled with a damp mould and dirty puddles. Bikinied blonde babes with dazzling smiles were now sullen sombre Suits with frosted breath.
School was closed for the holiday season. Most of the foreigners had returned home or travelled to Asia. I spend X-mas in the bar, watching horrible talk shows (if you don't believe how bad they can be, check out TV in Japan).
By New Years, the crowded had returned to Juso. Back to the bar and I counted down the last of 2006 with friends from Japan, America, Canada, China and Australia. Around 4am, some of us managed to remember how to walk. We headed down to a local temple and after a small donation, gave a silent prayer to the gods and ancestors, and received a mysterious fortune. After realising that I couldn't read Japanese when I was drunk either, my friend translated a typically vague yearly fortune. General happiness, bad year for pets, good for love, don't be in a hurry to move.
Lets see what 2007 has to bring.