Well I don’t think we’ve ever had a Christmas day like that before in our lives. A number of reasons *might* have contributed to the fact, one might be Heather, one might be winter and one might be that we are in Japan.
Christmas this year, as you might have already expected, has not been the happiest of Christmases, but in the dieing hours of Christmas eve, we managed to pull it together. The Christmas stars have been flowing since we arrived in Melbourne and pulled them out of the box (I’m not sure why we didn’t pack them in the first place) and homes, works and random people’s pockets have been filled with stary spirit a plenty, but stars alone don’t make Christmas.
Emily managed to pinch a tree from her work when they shut down over the New Years period and it was duly decorated the traditional European way, on Christmas eve (sure… we planned it… yes, that sounds plausible) and Emily surprised me with a box of Lindt Chocolate tree decorations Fiona bought in Melbourne. Shopping on Christmas Eve wasn’t the manic mayhem we’ve become accustomed to, giving it an eerie feeling, but the plethora of Christmas decorations, light and god forsaking music was at par with it’s Western counterparts.
Japan kinda celebrates Christmas. They obviously don’t believe in the whole Christ thing, but do get in on the giving of presents, although Christmas isn’t a time for family, it’s a time for lovers. On Christmas eve there were countless romantic couples walking along the brightly dotted boulevards and streets and ducking in and out of Love Hotels.
Our morning started off with traditional present unwrapping, beautiful presents everyone that gave us one, karma returns to those who didn’t. I needed to get some more Calenders printed up as the girls at work demanded copies after they saw them, so we plodded down to Kinkos, open of course in this country on Christmas and made them before returning home to Kellie and Matthew, both eager to exchange presents themselves. There were many family calls from all members involved to their respective members in various states and countries before the main event of the evening was undertaken.
Christmas dinner was to be had at our favourite Okonomiyaki restaurant. A few days earlier we were joking around with them “What are you doing on Christmas day… working? No, we’ll have to come and visit you” which was followed by Okonomiyaki-sama coming out of the kitchen “You coming to here for Christmas… really? I’ll cook you whatever you like!” Well how could we refuse an invitation like that? So we placed our orders and now was time to cash in on our ludicrous demands. Upon arriving we noted that the boys weren’t their usual selves, rather reserved and some might even say nervous. And then it happened, they made impossible things possible. First a big steaming plate of mashed potatoes, sure it was chocked full of cheese, but delicious still it was. Glorious salads followed accompanying why might have looked like a turkey, but alas, twas only chicken. Tasty never the less, so I’ve been told. The icing on the cake was that we requested stuffing but after the language barrier reared it’s ugly head, we weren't sure if our picture of a loaf of bread shoved up the ass of a turkey made such sense to them at all. It tasted nice I was told, although the chicken must have been bulimic for upon cutting it open, there seamed to be more stuffing than Chicken. Funnily enough, the stuffing was pretty much meat loaf itself. The real difficult part was conveying what nut loaf was. When you punch loaf into a translator dictionary, before meat loaf comes bread loaf, and that’s what we got. A thick, nut encrusted loaf of bread not too dissimilar to pumpernickel or multi grain gone wrong. Absolutely delicious, although not quite what we had in mind when ordering, they did their best.
The following hours were spent around the dinner table completing the top 5 lists as not only was it Christmas, but Matthew’s last night in Tokyo, as we worked off the food we so hastily consumed. The craick was satisfying although laced with sadness as the departure of our good friend, especially at a time like this, will be a huge loss to us, at least we were comforted by the stories of days gone past and the excitement of adventures to come.
Desert was pushed back because of our bloating stomachs, but eventually when it did come was divine. Pancakes cooked at our table and dripping with melted butter and a healthy dose of maple syrup and ice cream brought out the tired napping feeling that Christmas has become associated with. After giving the boys a calendar and a little more craick we slowly rolled home, Kellie and Matthew joining us, Kellie for company, Matthew because he gave his keys back today, and flopped rather motionless onto the bed.
I’ve snuck away, companied by the crumbs of the gingerbread house I’ve just devoured and I think I’m ready for bed too.
And although the country is snowed in, Tokyo seemed to be somewhere else when it hit. Never to mind, the chilled temperature reminds us that we’re in the wrong hemisphere and the friendships shared will never be forgotten. All in all a delicious, delightable and distinctly different Christmas.