Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reindeer Man and Reindeer Hello Kitty wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Cake for 2008!

Happy Merry Christmas!

It's hard to believe that Christmas is already here. Most everyone back in the States is just now getting to their Christmas Eve, but here in Japan we are well into Christmas Day. Zach had to work the 24-hour shift over Christmas Eve, so I took the bus to the base last night and had dinner with him. When he got home this morning, we opened our presents and ate some breakfast, and now he is fast asleep. We plan to have a quiet day at home together. I hope to make rommegrot for dinner tonight, an incredibly rich Norwegian porridge-type dish made of cream and milk, with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. Mmmmm---yum!

Yesterday I got a call from my friend Carlina, inviting me to visit the school that she teaches English at. I forgot to bring my camera and was kind of bummed about that, but it was still very interesting to get a chance to see what a Japanese school is like. Most schools here are plain, concrete structures. If there weren't an attached schoolyard with yelling children playing sports, you might not know that it was a school. Classes were already dismissed for the holidays at Carlina's school, but the teachers were still there. I had to take my shoes off when I entered the building and put slippers on! While I was there, I met the principal, the vice principal, and a few of the other teachers she works with. Everyone I met was so nice. The major difference I noticed from American schools is that the classrooms belong to the kids. Carlina explained that the teachers go to the the classrooms, and when they aren't in a classroom, they share their desk or work space in one giant room with all the other teachers. This means that they have very little storage space, and their desks are loaded down with all their classroom materials and computers.

As you can see in my pictures, Reindeer Man has a new Reindeer Hello Kitty friend that Santa brought. And after my school trip yesterday, I went to Ebina and made my way through the crowds to buy our Japanese Christmas Cake for 2008. I'm not sure what is inside, but it sure looks good!

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kat and Darren in Harajuku

Christmas toilet paper?! Holy crap!

Okay, I feel like I'm about 10 years old for pointing this out. Is that really Santa on a yule log between Mr. Bear and Mr. Pig?!

Hello! It's a very stormy day. I'm looking outside at crazy rain, and the tree next to our house keeps slapping against the window.

So things are pretty quiet around here. Kat and Darren headed back to Seattle on Wednesday. We really enjoyed having them here. Before they left, we took a trip on Sunday afternoon to Harajuku in search of the famous kids dressed up in crazy outfits. Unfortunately we only saw a handful. We figured that there must be a gathering place, and we assumed that we would find it once we got there, but Harajuku is big and we struck out. We did find a great toy store called Kiddy Land and spent a lot of time there. They had a whole floor devoted to Hello Kitty and Sanrio, so I was quite happy.

Now I'm getting ready to decorate for Christmas. Yay! I finished cleaning up the house this morning, and I hope to set up the tree tonight or tomorrow with Zach's help. Reindeer Man will soon be hanging out in our living room again.

We also have a new product in the house---Christmas toilet paper! I saw it at a store in Yamato and had to have it. Zach expressed some dismay when he came home and saw it sitting on the counter, but I told him that it was unique. Plus, it's cuteness with a purpose!

Okay, have a good day, and stay warm.