I was woken up by two phone calls from Canada wishing me Merry Christmas very loudly into my hungover brain. It was nice to hear some familiar voices, but did they really need to shout?
At work I got to inform a student that she was ready for a level up. If a student’s ability is good enough, a teacher will fill out a level up slip and put it in to the student’s file. The next teacher will then agree with the level up, or give reasons for denying it. I was the second teacher, so I was happy to agree and then left the teacher’s room to find the student on her way out. I told her that I had a Christmas present for her and handed over the level up slip. She burst into a huge smile and looked like she was ready to give me a big hug. This would have been very un-Japanese, not to mention getting me in trouble with NOVA. I wished her a Merry Christmas on her way to schedule her level up test.
After work all of the teachers and some of the Japanese staff went to a Christmas house party in Yokohama. We changed trains in Yokohama station and I was surprised to see a long line of nicely dressed young couples waiting to purchase KFC. In Japan, Christmas is more of a day for couples than for families. Young couples will dress up nicely, get some KFC special Christmas fried chicken, and in many cases go to a love hotel. It’s no Christmas turkey, but not a bad way to spend the day either.
The house party was a good opportunity to spend time with some of my coworkers outside of the office. Usually I spend most of my free time with the other people in Hello House. I even got a chance to practice some of my Japanese with the NOVA staff in attendance. I would have preferred to be spending time with my family, but it was still good to be around people.
On my way home, I noticed some well dressed young couples riding home on the train holding hands. Apparently it was a good night for all.
(complete rewrite of original post)