This re-cap *should* be a few days ago, but some things get squished between others and sometimes time for documentation to take a break. That said, a quick recap of a busy few days around Christmas time.
Note: Christmas is *sorta* a thing in Japan as a starting point for New Years (which is the big deal). Some people evidently order chicken from a chain resto, others exchange gift, there are Santa decorations around, not much of the religiousness and folktales. Anyhow, this is technically my 3rd straight here at Tsuchida Cottage. The first was pre-Ichiro and i ordered in food and stoked out M and F in law and wife with prezos and established some traditions of sorts with a tiny tree and a roaring fire.
Last year 2020 we had a strange errand to do in a nearby town (concerning an abandoned crumbling house, a missing uncle and other conundrums) coincidentally on Dec. 25. Me, wife and Ichi all got terribly ill :( and with the passing of F-i-L’s mother, the tradition dictated a sedate New Years as well. So this year, i wanted to set new traditions, and holy smokes we did (and of course i took on too much) and show my thanks to in-laws and buddy Mac and his lovely GF. We also invited some friendly ladies to join our festive board.
Anyhow, was several days of prep during which i was *struggling* and then Dec. 23rd was Mae Mae’s rehearsal at our home which was a great chance to use our unique floorplan to full effect with the whole band fitting in easily and i even sat in on drums!
Then Dec. 24th was a big one… i’ll let myself take over for re-cap.
Enter in blue, Exit in red #StealthMode #Santa
Just back from my naturalistic Santa Claus performance at the nursery school.
I’m so custom made for this. And at 5 foot 9 with a 32 inch waist, I am a “big guy” 🙂 I told the kids I eat lots of vegetables to keep trim (after i joked that I only eat reindeer)
Each of the students got their own bit of special attention with eye contact, a few kind words, and a present. lots of kids wanted to touch my uniform or my beard as well.
Of course many photos were taken but because of the kids in them, can’t really share them. Soaked in all the dopamine goodness I could.
A few kids cried, our little guy looked at me with a look of bewilderment, all the kids got a special Santa convo and a present & my 2+ months of beard growth allowed me to be truly authentic and bring some joy – indeed, I am truly a method actor :-).
The kids asked some questions but fortunately I had clever answers.
Yes, I will have this gig as long as I want it. #NeighborhoodSanta
Meanwhile back at home
Then on Christmas eve, we wrapped and laid out gifts for Ichiro (after a day of prepping food). He was noticing all the changes in the house with trees and lights and different foods and was wide eyed at it all – and doing the cutest hand gestures to emulate the blinking flicking lights.
Christmas morning, in-laws came over and over hot bevvies with opened gifts. Ergo:
Ryoko and I received matching pyjamas! So warm and cozy and cute. Thrilled.
M-i-L received a puzzle of 4 generations of her (Fujii) family visiting the matriarch at an elder’s home with Aunt, Cousin from Nagasaki, cousin’s 2 little girls, wife and Ichiro in the middle of all the ladies. (recap of outing). We also made a puzzle for great granny, aunt and cousin.
F-i-L received an Adidas track suit made for lounging around (chilly) Japanese houses. We loves to hang at the computer and follow Shogi (a sort of complicated chess) matches and this will comfy and handy for forays outside to check weather and laundry etc.
Ichiro was loaded up but most importantly with a drum set (yeah it seems like i got it for me but really…)
So much fun to set it up and now we have my sorta kit (floor top, high hat, snare) and his in the front room along with piano, baritone ukulele, electric keyboard, and basket of percussion.
Then back to the kitchen… for a final manoeuvres. Kitchen is not my wheelhouse but timely advice from brother Anders and buddy Lance alleviated the anxiety and fortunately magic wife had helped prep most of the stuff the day before (including gravy and eggnog!) and we laid out stuffing (made with homemade chicken stock, mushrooms, baguette, celery, carrot, onion etc), a turkey (which turned out perfect somehow), brussel sprouts (acquisition thereof chronicled elsewhere) with bacon from R’s alma mater, broc/cauli mix, a variety of bevvies, etc.
Snapshots of food follow – self-explanatory (for time being at least):
Buddy Mac came with wine and a pork belly (see above) from his freezer where i shipped the turkey, sausages, and ham. We cooked it on site for the almost-final course.
Ryoko had tracked down some fancy charcuterie too. It all turned out great with pleasing conversation and interestingness as most of the foods were “first time” for attendees.
Oh we used some of my Mom’s “fancy china” and had ordered silverware and cloth napkins for proper table service for 8-1/2 diners (^ see above gallery if curious).
The woodstove was cranking the whole time as was Charlie Brown Christmas music followed by a variety of Joni Mitchell, Cowboy Junkies and Iron and Wine.
Mac and Manami stayed over next door and had breakie (pork belly scramble) and fancy egg nog coffees next morning. Then i collapsed :) Fortunately most the dishes were done night before by elves while i was in bath with Ichi.
Was all so great which is why i am remembering it all here. Pardon brevity, good night.