Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in Japan


As you can see, I arrived. No horror stories like my flight to Thailand.

My flight was relatively uneventful, just long. So damn long. A 14 1/2 hour flight, followed by an hour long processing through immigration and a 2 hour ride into the city feels like eternity, expecially when the 3-year-old in front of you keeps repeating "Tokyo Disneyland!" for the duration of the flight.

I got held up in customs when Japanese customs searched my bag. Upon discovering my toiletries, he seemed worried about all the pills I was carrying - my malaria drugs and birth control. Motioning towards them, he asked about the malaria drugs first. Somehow he easily understood what they were for. However, when I tried to explain the birth control, it ended with me a shade of fuschia, saying "Oral contraceptive?" "Birth control?" "No pregnant? "No baby??" Just as I was about to start to mime the process of intercourse, the egg and sperm traveling to meet one another, he finally waved me through.

I was immediately struck by how it didn't feel like Christmas. First, there was no snow. I have never not had a white Christmas. Second, according to my time, it was actually only the morning of Christmas Eve. Finally, there were only a handful of Christmas decorations. No singing, no giant candy canes, no bells ringing. I did see two sad Santas - tall, wirey Japanese men draped in Santa suits outside the 7-11 selling DVDs and Harry Potter Christmas cake. Strangely, one wore a large afro wig.

That night I passed out in the middle of the living room, surrounded by my family watching It's a Wonderful Life. Unfortunately I woke up the next morning at 3:30 am ready to start the day. Christmas involved opening a stocking lovingly put together by my family that held a number of bizarre Japanese gifts bought from the 100 Yen store (like the dollar store, only weird). Things like kleenex with two puppies that says "Sleeping Dogs" and strange Japanese liquor.

After a quick tour of the neighbourhood, we sat down to a traditional Christmas dinner with some friends of my Aunt and Uncle. After the meal we were met by two Japanese girls who work for my Uncle's airline. They spoke a little English and seemed quite entertained by our Christmas party. In speaking with one, I discovered she had recently been to Las Vegas. I asked if she saw any shows there and she nodded yes "Magic. Cirque du Soleil. And strip." I guess these Japanese women aren't as shy as I thought.

After some language lessons, which involved the Japenese women teaching my family (at our insistence) some Japanese swear words and how to say "drunk" in Japanese, we repaid their generosity by teaching them how to say drunk in a variety of ways in English, inlcuding "hammered" (which they liked), "sloshed", "trashed" and other terminology. I think they were impressed that the English language has so many different ways of saying drunk. Most likely, they think my family is inasne. All in all, it was a good, educational and cultural exchange and I passed out at 9 pm.

3 Comments:

Blogger DaveHooper said...

Hahaha--I hope you know what youre in for here! Whatsup with the Tokyo leg of your trip? Coming to see me or am I coming to see you?

7:49 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Hi - You're the first person who has admitted to blogging that I know. Just had to try this out.

9:14 PM  
Blogger blindmind said...

I hear people in Japan fashion garments from dairy products. Is that true?

10:27 PM  

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