Monday, December 21, 2009

The Holiday Parties Continue

This past weekend, my friend Amanda was so gracious to offer up her small living room for the sake of Christmas cheer! She made us wassail, bought us Kentucky Fried Chicken, and even made two boxes of the blue box macaroni and cheese. I can tell already, she's gonna be a great mother ;) The Japanese have this weird tradition of eating KFC on Christmas, presumably because they think that's what Americans do on Christmas. So, we decided to "follow the norm" and get some chicken. We also had some fabulous Ghiradelli brownies and our Christmas cookies made the night before!

There was a special guest appearance by Santa Claus and Rudolph, and really, what Christmas party is complete without them?

Nicole happened to have the exact same sweatshirt as me, so I decided I should of course wear mine too. Seems we've reverted back to junior high when wearing the same clothes as someone else was cool.

After dinner we just hung around and enjoyed each others' company. Above is our gracious host, Amanda. Below, Neil models one of his Christmas presents. He grew a mustache last month, so someone gave him a fake one just in case he missed it too much. Also, note that amazing Christmas sweater bought for 900 yen from the local second hand store. Classy.

We ended the evening with a pajama party and the next morning climbed into two cars and road tripped back to Fujinomiya for some Montego burgers. Because that's also what Americans love. Obviously that one's true.

I think that's the last holiday party for me in awhile unfortunately, but I know everyone else back home is gearing up for a week with family! Travel safely everyone!!

I'm starting off on a travel adventure on Thursday morning. I'm taking local trains (aka very slow trains) all the way to the south island, Kyushu (green on the map of Japan below). I'm excited to go on a solo adventure. When I was in Europe and South America I did quite a bit of traveling alone, but in Japan I know so many other teachers and everyone wants to travel. So since coming here, I haven't gone anywhere alone! So this will be my first solo venture and will be good "me" time to charge up for the next year.

After Kyushu, I'm going to ring in the new year in Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan. I'm planning on hitting up some of the Mirei Shigemori Japanese gardens. He was a landscape architect and designed a bunch of dry landscape gardens in Japan (over 200). A friend recommended a few to me, and after looking into it, I'm definitely going to make that a part of my few days there (I've already been there and hit up the main tourist areas)! Below is an example of one of his gardens, since I'm sure "dry landscape garden" doesn't probably evoke an image in your mind.

I'm also thinking about bringing in the New Year in the traditional Japanese way by watching the sunrise and going to a temple. Thought it would be a good thing since it's my first and only New Year's in Japan! Also, since I'm traveling alone, I probably won't be going to any rave New Year's parties or anything.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year People!


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ash said...

Cool! Glad to know there are more readers out there than my family! Any particular reason you're interested in the blog?