Finished my thesis (yay!) so now I have time to write and post about everything! Starting with how I spent Christmas and New Year in Japan!
I haven’t been back home for the past few Christmases and New Years so I’ve spent them in a variety of ways ranging from a party with friends, going to hatsumode and freezing in the cold, to just staying home, eating pizza and watching tv or movies. My saddest Christmas was probably when I wasn’t feeling too good or up to anything and I’d canceled plans and stayed home….and watched all the Saw movies. Woah.
This year was slightly different! The friends I used to hang out with for dinner on Christmas Day have all returned home (or are back home for the holidays) so I had prepared myself for a sad Christmas all alone. AND THEN! A friend was hosting a Christmas Party at her place and would be fine with me staying the night. Yay! I was really excited because she was cooking a whole spread with turkey, ham, cornbread, mac & cheese, green bean casserole, pie…just lots of yummy yummy things and it was my first encounter with an American Christmas.
It sounds kinda weird that I get so excited about that but back in Singapore we don’t eat turkey much, so I’d never actually really eaten turkey (it was delicious). Christmas is usually just a dinner with the family (sometimes Mom brings me out to a dinner & dance event which serves courses of Chinese food….) and then church on the day itself sometimes with some food after service, usually Chinese or Peranakan. So I didn’t actually know half of the things on the menu – like what is cornbread? Why does everyone love the cornbread so much? Is it that good? Maybe I should try a bit and Oooooh, yes it is pretty good. Yum.
I’ve also never had a proper Christmas tree in my life. The one where you hang the ornaments up and put lights around and have your presents under the tree! When I was little my mom bought one of those tiny table decorator ones that already had ornaments on it and she just stacked all my presents around (that I wasn’t allowed to actually open or play with).
So when I watched my friend’s family grabbing and tearing all the wrapping paper off all together as a family….aww. It was nice to see how others spent Christmas and being able to be a part of that.
I managed to meet and catch up with so many lovely people at the party too! Some of them are also lovely YouTubers you should definitely check out – Shiverz, Jenny Silver, Emily Maitland, Lisa Sometimes, Man in Japan!
I was quite an awkward turtle in social situations but everyone was so friendly and could easily make small talk….is this how things normally are? You can obviously tell I don’t really go for many gatherings unless I know most of the people present…..
I am so glad I went though! Much better than spending Christmas being all sad alone at home.
The next morning, this happened – the cat took over my bed. She plopped down and then proceeded to demand belly rubs. When I stopped she’d grab my hand with her paws. It was too adorable to resist. Same cat also jumped about the room and onto to the bed to disturb the other sleeping people so I decided to take her downstairs and grab some breakfast.
The day’s plan was to drop by the US base nearby and do some shopping which really excited me since I’d never been on before! Plus American groceries? Double yes!
Unfortunately, for Singaporean citizens, you need a prior background check before they allow you entry. Since it was a holiday, the offices were closed so I couldn’t go in. Bummer!! If you’re Japanese, you need to have a form of identification that has your address written in romaji/English “because (people in the base) can’t read kanji” as the receptionist told us. So a passport would be safest if you have a Japanese person in your party who wants to enter.
So I lounged around before meeting everyone for kaiten-sushi (conveyor belt sushi) dinner and we grabbed some purikura for lulz.
I even had people take the train with me all the way to Shinjuku since everyone was headed in that direction too! We flailed over Neko Atsume and I squealed over Arashi’s commercial for new year cards that played in the train.
Then at night I was left alone for about an hour before my bus so I grabbed a quick burger from Freshness Burger opposite the night bus station. It was then I realised I was at the exact same station as I had been 3 years ago, on my first night bus trip. It felt like things had come full circle. I was happy, my heart felt full.
Getting back to Osaka in the morning and taking the relatively empty train home, I watched as the sun rose and felt blessed to call the area home. I love Kansai, so, so much. As much as I enjoy travelling up to Tokyo, it’s returning back that makes me feel the most at ease.
In comparison, I really didn’t do much for New Years. I had pizza delivered from Domino’s at 11:30pm, and spent that night watching new years specials. I toggled between Gaki no tsukai waratte ikenai and Kohaku Uta Gassen, finally settling on Kohaku to ring in the new year.
Oh, and this too:
Happy 2016! Akemashite omedetou~
I’m excited, but nervous, of what is to come.