This Christmas was a little strange at first, being the first time we've ever spent the holidays in another country. I mean, New Jersey felt a little bit like another country sometimes, but my sister was always there to give it that family feeling. Actually, Christmas in NJ was great, for the last few years we'd invited some of Nathan's actor friends over and we'd eat and play Rock Band into the wee hours. It was great! So I was a little perplexed as to what we were going to in Japan, as most of our friends were spending their holidays overseas in exotic locations.
We started off with Christmas Eve at the German Christmas festival being held for the last month in Odori Park. Ethan was really wanting a German apple pancake, and I was wanting some mulled wine. We both got what we wanted.
Christmas day starting bright and early, with Ethan getting us up at 8:30. It was a nice, simple present-opening, which I really enjoyed. I got Nate and new wallet (wallets with a pouch for change are essential in Japan), and he got me a nice new winter hat that I'd been hinting about for some time. Ethan loved everything he got, and at the last minute, we brought out our gift to him - an electric guitar.
I got a good deal on it from another JET who didn't have a use for it, and Ethan had been saying that he really wanted one to practice on, so I thought, why not? He loved it, as you can see.
It included a little amp with the purchase, which I'm sure our neighbors are going to love!
After our traditional Christmas breakfast, we went to meet our friends Arisa and Takumi to eat lunch and see Tron. I'm not sure they enjoyed Tron too much, they said it made their eyes hurt. After the movie we invited them over to our house for some Christmas cake (it's what they eat here). What happened next was a couple hours of dancing and video game playing.
It was a blast, but 11:00 rolled around and they had to catch the last subway back home. We stayed up a little longer, talking with our friend Mark, another ALT who wasn't doing anything for Christmas, so we decided to invite him to the par-tay.
Nathan was telling me that it's strange for us to be so sociable. We've been out and about to parties and get-togethers for the last 3 days, and frankly, being sociable is lots of work! We've always had a close group of friends, but I think we've alienated ourselves in years past because we're usually the only ones to have a kid. I think that makes us feel a little different, which in turn ends up with us just staying at home. As sappy as it sounds, I love the friends we've made here since moving to Japan. They don't replace the family I'm missing back home, but they sure do come pretty darn close.
I hope everyone - friends, family, and everyone in-between - has a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year!!