Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas day

Here is a summary of how we spent our first Japanese Christmas!
What a great Christmas! The day was full of happy moments as we walked around town. The weather wasn't the greatest but we didn't let it rain on our parade. What's great about Japan is that since they don't really celebrate the same way Americans do, we had plenty of ways to entertain ourselves as we distracted our minds from thoughts of being home with family doing things like singing silent night at church or falling asleep under the tree to The Christmas Story. However, the Japanese seem to have caught into the whole holiday cheer idea, meaning there were families out and about having a great time among the decorations and various fair-like activities creating the "hustle and bustle" feel you often get in the states.
We took some presents to the staff to thank them for working so hard during the holiday time. Little things, like American chocolates, sausages, and jellies. They were novelty, but we thought it was a nice gesture for them. We later met up with Tom and Laura for coffee, which is never just coffee. We managed to find some friends that see the humor in both the simple things in life and the situation of immersing yourself in a new culture, they are always up for a good laugh. We went to the center of town area where they had "snow", which actually turned out to be more of an ice shooting machine into a space about the size of our apartment. After our not so white Christmas experience we stopped by Ron's Burger Shop to visit our friends Koichi and Mia. We brought them different American candies and chocolates and practiced some Japanese as well.
Then, it was time for the main event: KFC. We have been waiting since we first read the holiday portion of our Living Abroad in Japan book, in which it read "Christmas is celebrated simply by eating KFC and strawberry shortcake". So, being the type of people that pick up on funny little things like that, we of course planned our entire Christmas celebration around this fact. Come to find out, the book was right. They had a whole system to control the lines and every fast food restaurant in town had their own version of fried and rotisserie chicken you could pre-order and take home. So, now that we have had that experience we can search for our next one - which if we are in the business of knocking out "things you must do while living in Japan" then tonight will be one more thing to tally. Tonight we are going to our first Karaoke party!! So, here begins day two of the Christmas celebration!

Yes, that is me in the middle of all the kids. Yes, I threw a snowball at a kid. No, I don't think he liked it.

Playing in the "snow".
Coffee with Tom and Laura.

Igloo!! You can't see but it was sitting right next to the Godzilla light sculpture.
Bucket of KFC and necessary additions.
Note: From what we can tell, Christmas is not so much about the religious experience. It seems to be more about the merchandising and giving aspect. Which, since the Japanese are not a very publicly religious society-in general-this is not surprising. I did see March of Dimes and other charities with donation trees all over town, so they do believe in the charity of the season from what we can tell. According to our Japanese friends, it is common to exchange a gift with your loved one, eat a meal of American-like cuisine, and often go right back to work.

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