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Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!

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Well, Christmas has come and gone. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas actually happened, but I think I blame this on the fact that my apartment does not have enough space for a Christmas tree (despite my want for one) and my boss not understanding why all of us ALTs took vacation on Christmas. Anyway, while Jun and I did not go to Disney Land this year, we still managed to keep ourselves busy.

Christmas actually came a few days early for Jun and I in that we bought ourselves a nice big Christmas present that has to be one of the smartest purchases I have invested in: A QUEEN SIZED BED!

we has a queen sized bed XD

Now, back to Christmas day! To start off the day, I woke up before Jun to make a special breakfast. I had been wanting to make French toast for a few days, but was distressed to discover that we had no bread. After rummaging around, I decided I was going to have more luck using some rolls rather than sesame seed bagels.
mini French toasts

After eating French toast and drinking some warm tea, Jun and I set out for our Christmas adventure. First stop was a game center for some purikura and UFO catching. Purikura, for those of you who do not know, is a photo booth were you take pictures, decorate them, and then print them on a sticker sheet to put where ever you want.

purikura

After taking purikura, and me running into a few of my students who were SUPER excited to see me, we tried our luck with UFO catchers (claw vending machines). These are extremely popular in Japan and there is even a national tournament dedicated to the machine. Jun is pretty good at these things, so I had him teach me a few tricks before trying to grab an adorable Carebear stuffed animal while Jun played on a different machine where you can win snacks. I put 100 yen into the machine and…

VICTORY!

After playing around in the arcade, we did a few hours of karaoke where I made it a rule that for the first 30 minutes we were only allowed to sing Christmas songs. We then headed over to a supermarket where we had placed an order previously for some traditional Christmas eats: sushi and cake.

Christmas lunch

Yes, you read and saw that right. We had sushi and cake for Christmas. The traditional Japanese christmas food is the Christmas Cake, usually made of sponge cake, strawberries and whipped cream. While sushi is popular, Japanese are under the impression that Americans eat fried chicken for dinner and are in shock when you tell them that we don’t eat it. As a result, one of the busiest stores around Christmas is non other than KFC. Pizza is also becoming a popular Christmas dinner dish.

Hikari was really excited about the cake

and about the sushi

For single women in Japan it is really crucial to have someone to spend Christmas eve with. It is also really important for them where they spend Christmas eve and what present they receive. The whole evening must be very special, gorgeous and romantic. Japanese women who have a boy friend tend to show off, so women who don’t are not happy to talk about the topic.

There also used to be a sarcasm that Christmas is compared with a woman’s age. Cake shops throughout Japan always try to sell all their Christmas cakes before Christmas eve. Any cakes left after Christmas are seen to be very old or out of date. Women over 25 years old used to be said ‘unsold Xmas cake.’ It’s a bit bad joke, though. The expression seems to have almost died out, but my middle host brother likes to ease me sometimes.

Odaiba's Rainbow Bridge

After eating and watching “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” we heading out to Odaiba to spend the evening. When we arrived, we checked out a car show room where we tried out several cars and even road in some futuristic cars that used the new automatic navigation system. There was also a neat little area where you catch light in your hands and mix them together to make pictures.

Odaiba's Giant Ferris Wheel

After having out fun with the cars, we headed over to Palette Town and road on it’s giant Ferris wheel. The Daikanransha is one of the largest Ferris wheel found in Japan and it can even be spotted from the central urban area of Tokyo. The night view was breathtaking and you could see Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, and Haneda Airport from the top.
we win

After our ride, we went into another (HUGE) game center and played some games. Jun encouraged me to try a soccer game where the goal is divided into a BINGO grid and you try to score a goals to get BINGO. I had a mini audience watching me towards the end mostly because they were in awe that I could kick a soccer ball with such force. We also played some more UFO catching and you can see our spoils in the above picture.
an illumination inside the mall

We then heading into a mall that was all decorated like Italy including a sky painted ceiling. There were lots of pretty illuminations inside the mall that were fun to look at. We started to get a little hungry, so we decided to get a late dinner at a lovely little Italian restaurant.

the restaurant

To finish off the night we headed off to the area where all the Christmas illuminations are located and walked around looking at all the pretty lights.

Christmas illumination

And there you have it. We did not get back home until 1 am and we were pretty tired…but not tired enough to not try out the two new DS games that we bought: Shining Force Feather and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky.
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Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas

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12 thoughts on “Christmas 2009

  1. It sounds like you had a great Christmas holiday, the photos are all so lovely and cute. I am extremely jealous of your ufo prizes! Carebears, popple, and mame-shiba! I need to learn some of the catching tips, because I stink out loud haha^^

    1. Oh man, the UFO prizes were literally everything I loved from childhood. There were even Yum Yums (like Peppermint Kitty!) and Rainbow Bright goods. I really wanted to get a Yum Yum prize, but they were too creepy to be considered cute.

  2. Looks like you had a fun Christmas! That bed looks really nice, too. Your apartment has come a long way from when I saw it, what, a little over a year ago? I’m kind of impressed!

    Also? Your holiday card picture is super cute.

    1. Oh man, last time you saw the apartment I think I had just had enough furniture to make things livable. Now I have a nice 42 inch TV, HUGE fridge, and pretty much everything I could need/want. Next on my list is selling this small kotatsu and buying one of the kotatsu tables…

      By the way, I miss you 😦

      1. That’s exciting! You were able to make your apartment homey pretty fast, really.

        And I miss you, too! I’m trying really hard (REALLY hard) to get a job in Kawagoe, or at least somewhere else in Saitama if Kawagoe doesn’t work out, so hopefully I’ll be back in August. Fingers crossed!

    1. best wishes to you too! I’m hoping to spend New Years watching the count down at Tokyo Tower or somewhere equally as impressive. Last year Jun and I went to Kyoto – it was pretty crazy!

      1. I really hope you make it to Tokyo Tower. It figures so prominently in manga, I would love to see some pictures where it’s not being blown up or taken over by monsters. Hikari is adorable. We’d have a hamster now, but my husband is allergic. I love Hamtaro still even though my kids are too old for it. Maybe I’ll get a collected dvd set for myself someday. In some of our silliest moments, we sing the Hamtaro theme song. 😀 Take lots of pictures where-ever you end up.

  3. Sounds like you two had a great holiday–it is great that you have so much in common and lots of things to do. Hikari is so cute with the Christmas cake. KFC for dinner–not so much. Michael and Karleen brought me some of the ham dinner that they had for Christmas, with a sweet potato and lime jello with cottage cheese and pineapple. Your apartment is really coming along. What is a kotatsu?

    TTFN, Love, Mom

    1. I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky to have found someone like Jun・:゚*.:・。(o♥Д♥)ノ゛.:*゚・;*:   We are both pretty nerdy that it is almost ridiculous. Hikari was even more excited when we gave her a small piece of strawberry – she loves fruit. I had KFC a little while back and I remembered it tasting better than it was. The fried chicken that I can buy at the local 7-11for around100 yen tastes a billion times better. Here is a link explaining what a kotatsu is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kotatsu

      What Jun and I want to get to replace our current kotatsu (where we have to sit on the floor) is one of these guys: http://www.nst21.com/goods/kotatsu/kotatsu.htm

  4. Sound like you had a terrific Christmas, Katherine! I’m glad that you and Jun spent a nice day out together, even if you didn’t manage to get to Disneyland. The second you get that Kotatsu I’m totally moving into your apartment!

    Have a great New Year!

  5. I think I like the kotatsu with the chairs with wheels.

    I’m winding down from the Christmas pet sits–just a few a day starting tomorrow–it has been crazy. A dog that I hadn’t pet sit for in a few years remembered me–he is old and has arthritis too so we made a good pair–an old springer spaniel.

    I won’t recognize your apartment the next time I see it. Looking good. Don’t forget about the new couch when I come.

    Time to get some sleep I guess–kittens are running around and Cinnamon is trying to sit on the keyboard.

    Odaibi is such a neat place.

    TTFN, Love, Mom

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