Saturday, January 15, 2011


Momoko turned twenty last year. It is a Japanese custom for the city to hold a seijin-shiki ceremony every January for all of the new adults. It is a rite of passage and is a very important day, especially for the girls because it is one of the few times they are allowed to get dressed in their kimono. We flew to Hokkaido to celebrate this special day with Momoko and her family.

We had a wonderful time in Hokkaido! It was great getting to know Momoko's family, they spoiled us rotten and made us feel right at home.

Sarah went ice fishing for the very first time and caught fish! Once you were done fishing, you take your fish to a little shop by the lake and they tempura fry them for you to eat!

The ice fishing tents

Momo and Sarah on the frozen lake. It was freezing cold and Momoko had on a mini skirt and spike heeled boots! Crazy girl! Needless to say- a few steps out onto the frozen lake sent her back to the car to wait for us. She's a big city girl now!

Hot cream corn anyone?

This was a wonderful little Ainu village near the lake. The Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan.

The Ainu use to make their living hunting and fishing but now they make wood carvings to sell to tourists. I bought this sugar cellar with the most amazing, tiny,carved wooden spoon.

Here are some of the carvings. The smallest owls were the size of my pinkie fingernail! Amazing!

I laugh at this picture because Sarah was super mad to be dressed up! The shop owner insisted she dress in the traditional kimono of the Ainu and she was trying to be a good sport about it but you can tell she is not too happy! Notice the embroidery on the kimono and head band, that is symbolic of the Ainu.

The village

Momoko's favorite goat!

Masato-san brought the goats and pigs out for Heart and Tree's customers!

My pictures are out of order, this was after Momoko's ceremony. I taught them how to play quarters! Everyone loved the American game!

Sachiko-san and Masato-san loving up on Sarah!

I love these two people! They were so warm an welcoming. We had been talking about the crazy trend of how teens make "duck lips" in, they give it a try!

Momoko's celebration with friends!

Party people

My little friend- what a love!

Diachi and obachan making rice balls for Momo's party!

The seijin-shiki crew!

This picture made it into the next day's newspaper!

The group with the city officials

Sarah and Momoko before the ceremony. (Sarah got horrible sick after Momo's party and spent two days in bed. You can tell she is not feeling well in this picture!)

Momo and some of the girls looking beautiful in their kimono.

Hattori Family=love!

Momoko paying her respects to her grandpa. He bought her the kimono before he passed away. When we first arrived to the house, we were asked to kneel and say hello to grandpa. Grandpa=Love!

Momoko at the kimono dressers

Beautiful Momoko

This was a wonderful experience, watching this woman dress Momoko was amazing! There are so many layers, belts, padding and ties that go into making the kimono look perfect. Amazing!

The obi must be at least six feet long, she is a true artist to be able to work it into a beautiful masterpiece!

Breakfast at Heart -n-Tree. Yum!

Sarah with her steaming hot Hokkaido milk! (The area is famous for their dairy products)


Hattori House!
Our crab feast

Lake Mashu

If you can see the lake, you will have good fortune. I guess we were lucky this day because it was cold, clear and beautiful. Masato-san said that most days, it is so foggy that you cannot see the lake and people travel back many times to catch a good day.

One of the many volcanos in the area

This lake has a hot spring. This is a foot bath...when the weather is warmer I hope!

Swans on a frozen lake. Brrr

Surreal beauty!

Saying good-bye to our good friend Sebastian.

Hot springs around the hotel/town

New Years decorations in the hotel lobby

We stayed in a hotel the first night beause it was part of our travel package. It had a wonderful onsen and we were able to relax in hot water with snow all around us!
Our little geisha pouring tea

We will miss you Hokkaido!