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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas