Posts Tagged christmas

December 25, 2003 – Christmas chicken for all

Christmas 2003

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.

Merry Christmas!

(complete rewrite of original post)

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December 24, 2003 – Christmas Eve

My first Christmas Eve away from home was a bit depressing. I went to work earlier than usual and had plans to go to an English language church for a Christmas service in the evening. However, by the time I got home and ate it was too late to get to the church service.

I ended up going with Marshall to a yakiniku restaurant in Shimokitazawa, not too far away from my famous solo double date. The restaurant featured all you can eat and drink for 2 hours. The restaurant was smart and only had two waiters working, which greatly slowed down the delivery of food and drink to each table. I was surprised at how loud drunk Japanese people can be when they want the waiter to come. Shouts of “summisen” got louder and more obnoxious as the time went on. The gaijins in the restaurant had to work hard to keep up.

I ate cow tongue for the first time. It was thinly sliced and delicious.

After drinking many beers and stuffing myself with grilled meat I returned home to open my Christmas presents alone. Afterwards I fell asleep in front of the TV. I miss family Christmas.

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November 30, 2003 – Christmas Tree!

(rewrite of original post)

Today was a day off, so The Penpal came for a visit from Numazu. Together we assembled and decorated the small Christmas tree that my parents sent from Canada. When I was young, our family always had a big Christmas tree in the living room at my parents house, and somewhere along the way we got a small tree that we would set up in the basement. The small tree had been sitting in a box for years collecting dust.

Growing up, Christmas was an important family holiday. When I think of Christmas I think of presents, snow, turkey dinner, family, watching the Grinch (animated, not live action), midnight mass, and my dad’s famous Christmas morning breakfast. Christmas 2003 will be the first time I will not get to experience any of these things. Having a small Christmas tree will hopefully help to offset a bit of the homesickness.

The Penpal had never decorated a Christmas tree before, so we had fun working on it together, even though it took about 15 minutes from start to finish. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out before she had to return to Numazu.

Christmas won’t be the same this year, but at least my room is feeling a bit more Christmassy.

(I didn’t take a picture at the time – the attached pic is an example of the size of my small tree)

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