It's cold in Sendai at the moment. Our pipes have frozen, the river near our house has frozen and we both have chilblains. But we are plucky kids and the biting night air could not deter us from going into town to experience the annual Dontosai Festival.
The festival is a traditional event in which people throw their paper and pine New Year decorations into a big bonfire at a shrine and pray for perfect health and good business.
It also involves poor boys and girls running up and down the street wearing as little as possible, ringing bells and carrying lanterns. And I can't express enough how cold it was that night! Even all bundled up Gareth declared he had never felt that kind of cold before, and I turned into the foulest little grump! but with gritty determination we persevered.
We followed the crowd past numerous festival meat-on-a-stick stalls, and arrived at the shrine. We threw in our five yen pieces, rang a giant bell and clapped our hands (to scare away bad spirits) wishing for good health and prosperous business.
Then we went home as fast as our cold, sore, fed-up little feet could take us.
All in all we are glad we went and experienced a traditional Dontosai. And now I never have to go again!