Yesterday the gods gave us snow. For those of you living in wintry parts of the world this is probably neither exciting nor even interesting. But in Kyoto "yuki" (snow) is just about the most electrifiying word I know. We only are blessed with a few snowfalls a year and it all rarely fails to melt by 11:00 in the morning. So when my wife pulled back the curtain and said, "oh no, snow!" she was mainly worried about being cold and miserable, and possibly ruining her brand new shoes. I, on the other hand, blasted out the door, knowing however that I'd return home by way of the marital dog house.
"We're supposed to leave at 11:00!" she said without actually saying anything.
January 1st is the most important holiday of the year in Japan and we were expected at the in-laws for the annual family gathering. I always enjoy it, but snow is almost as rare as January firsts. I promised I'd be back before my wife had even gotten herself ready, but I didn't yet know that one of my favorite temples -- Iwakura Jisso-in (岩倉実相院) -- was open on the holiday... Sorry, honey. But we were only 30 minutes late, right?