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Monday, 13 January 2014

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine

Only D Brave back with a two parter of Christmas in Japan

Rewind to Japan -  Christmas time 

I had been in Japan for 2 months and loving the Japan experience. Exploring during the day, sampling the local delicacies during the evening and partying on the weekends.  Due to technological advances I.E Facebook and Skype, I didn't really feel that far from home - I was enjoying the best of both worlds.. until Christmas day.  Don get me wrong I had a decent Christmas but a few things hit home.  It was my first Christmas away from home.  The nearest I had was my surprise adventure to Qatar but I left the day after boxing day and spent New Years there.   Not only was it my first Christmas abroad it was my first away from my immediate family.  It was a milestone in the life of Only D Brave but tinged with sadness.  It really put into perspective how important that time of the year is for family for all those who celebrate it (the religious and/or  the commercial Christmas)

18th December
I attended free weekly Japanese lessons every Saturday with Hiwot.  Half way through our Japanese lesson on the 18th of December, my Japanese teacher said next "Saturday we will go through Katakana with you Dennis".  I laughed and said "but its Christmas day", she smiled back and said "indeed it is".  We both had a chuckle.  At the end of the day sensei said see you next Saturday I laughed again turned to Hiwot expecting her to be laughing with me - there was no laughter.  Hiwot looked at me and said "Sensei is serious, Christmas is just another day over here."  Hmmmm......

25th December
Hiwot was right, it was just another day!  It kicked off with midnight mass at the local Church.  Service was a mixture of English and Japanese with a kids nativity play sandwiched in between.  im not sure kids were doing up at such hour but kudos for performing way past their bedtime.  After Mass I hotfooted home (possibly stopping off at a late night Ramen for an Christmas snack) and headed off to bed.

Christmas morning! Woke up and made my way to class.  I was expecting to see the streets empty - it was packed, even more packed then a normal Saturday.  This was so surreal!  Barely anything is open at Christmas at London town but here in Japan it was just an ordinary day.

Its Christmas... but its so normal

Japanese lesson I actually was being taught Katakana.  Katakana is one of the three alphabets of Japan.  Its phonetic so onces you know the symbols it is basically say what you see.  It is usually used to describe words that are imported from foreign countries to Japan such as "McDonalds" " Coca-Cola"  It wasn't sinking in though, i was still a little shocked that everything was business as usual here.

Christmas Finger Licking
After Japanese lessons I went searching for the local KFC.  Word around the campfire is that you could get a proper Christmas dinner, like roast Chicken and the trimmings  KFC... I had to find out if this was true or just another urban myth.

Got to the KFC and lo and behold it was true!  You could get a roast chicken on Christmas day at KFC.  Unbeknownst to I, it was a very Japanese thing to hit the colonel sanders stores at Christmas eve and Christmas Day for a KFC sponsored Christmas meal.  Alas I didnt go for the roast, it had to be preordered and it cost £20. I'm ok spending up to a tenner one fast food meal for myself but £20? My wallet and my stomach says no.  Instead I settled for a Chiken Cur ri Po to pi i (Chicken Curry pot pie) Ho ho ho merry Christmas!

Japanese Word of the day - Are - That

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Christmas party with the dance crew

Another Only D Brave update 4 ya! I thought i would mix it up a lil and partly explain how my Japan adventure came about!

Why Japan??
First trip to Japan to Visit Gamu
 Well my spirit for adventure and exploration was awakened by my first trip to Japan to visit my very good university friend who was teaching in Japan, Gamu!  Before Japan  99% of my excursions abroad were organised and accompanied with by my parents.  Japan was my one of my first trips picked organised and fully funded by me.   Now Japan had been one of those places that I had an interest in going to but it was too far away.  However when Gamu moved over to teach English over there - pow I had the impetus go!

First trip to Japan to visit Gamu

Japan nearly didn't happen though!  I had arranged with 4 - 5 people to hit the land of the rising sun.  Everybody was enthusiastic at first and raring to go.  However as it happens with a lot of things, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and one by one dropped out. Fortunately for me I purchased my ticket after the first drop out so I was committed to the trip whoever was or wasn't coming with me and it turned out to be a fantastic decision.  I will explain more in later blog postings

Rewind to Japan - 22th December 2010

So on the way home from shopping in town I bump into Haichi , the guy I first met at the birthday party in Only D Brave returns with 30 at 30! So after some chit chat he invites me to a Christmas part with the other members of the dance group who I saw perform at End of Movember roll on December blog entry.  With nothing planned for the evening I though I would make a detour from destination home and meet the rest of his crew.

Dancers reunited
So the Christmas party was at a dance studio.  there was one big low table in the centre of the room packed with snacks and drinks.  I hadn't planned on going to an impromptu gathering so I added the chu hi I had purchased for personal consumption to the table of treats.  While having a few nibbles and drinks I started to talk with different members of the group.  The group had been formed about 1 year prior and none were professionally trained. They came together from just a love of dancing.  After a while 1 of the dance group members challenged me to guess their age and the rest of the dance group.  Not one to to back down from a challenge I duly accepted,  I did pretty well only getting one way out (saying that she was at least 10 years older than she actually was) fortunately she wasn't in earshot so I was safe from repercussions

Japanese word of the day - Moiidesuyo - No More

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Thanksgiving 2010 in Japan

Only D Brave back in 2014

Quick update on another Only D Brave adventures in Japan

Present day
I am day 10 of the water challenge Started drinking the water late ( from 1pm ) but was able to get to the 2 litre mark by 11pm.

Rewind to Japan - Dec 15th 2010

Thanksgiving in the Blue Banana

On the 15th December 2010 I experienced my very first thanksgiving celebration.  I know it was a little late
in the year however Fukuoka loves a celebration and better late than never. The owner of a bar I frequented
called The Blue Banana, (Tim) invited me to celebrate his combination of bar anniversary and thanksgiving dinner.  I arrived at the bar and it was packed to capacity with people there for thanksgiving fun and turkey.  And what a big turkey it was!  I took the opportunity to chow down, socialise and take pictures of the patrons of Blue Banana

After a good chow down it was entertainment time!  Firstly we had the lovely vocals of Kazuko and her band entertaining us with a melody of Japanese and American songs.

Then Tim and George treated us to round of African drumming 

Japanese word of the day - Takusan - Many/much