Let's be honest. We're adults. New Year's in Japan can be a bit hectic. And then static. It's one of the longest, if not the longest, holiday periods in the year.

Initially it feels like the whole country is on the move before the onset of calm: banks are closed; post offices shut; museums in hibernation. It's almost unimaginable for a country that normally operates in fifth gear to settle for second, but therein lies its charm. New Year's Eve in Japan is not unlike Christmas in the West: Families are reunited, everyone eats too much, time slows down a little and there's a reserve of that feel-good spirit and warmth in the air. There might not be fireworks, but there is mochi rice cakes. I will get to that.

The holiday in Japan is about family, hence why the travel networks are so overloaded in the run-up to the final week of December, with people returning home, and then again a few days into the new year with people heading back to the humdrum of "reality."