New Year, New Adventures

Holy smokes!! I hate being this delinquent on my blog, mostly because I really enjoy writing for it, and recounting all my adventures. But my new course for school is kicking my arse with one of the toughest workloads yet. Seriously, I have something due EVERY DAY. What gives? At least the subject matter is interesting!

It’s still January, so it’s not completely pointless to write about New Years, right? There isn’t much to tell anyway… at least now that I feel so removed from it already. Chuck and I experienced hatsumode with some friends, which is the Japanese ritual of visiting a Shinto shrine in pursuit of good fortune in the new year. They don’t see it as a party holiday like Americans do. It’s a time of reflection and prayer. Of course, we did ring in 2015 in true American style as well, with a party at the nearby Officer’s Club, but we did the reflection part too… even if it was as semi-skeptical tourists. (Click the slideshow to see captions.)

Honestly, with all the school groups and myriads of people, it didn’t feel all that quiet or reflective. My cheesy English “fortune” was very positive, but a little silly and generic. We opted to return to the shrine at a less busy period, and didn’t stay for very long. Still, it was good to learn more about how the Japanese celebrate the New Year. 🙂

As for Christmas (I know it’s way late to be talking about that…), the Japanese don’t really celebrate that either. It felt strange to be so far from home. Usually, Chuck and I are in a frenzied whirlwind of running around trying to see people. Both of our families and sets of friends live in the same region, so it often means we are stretched pretty thin. This year, there was no one to see and nothing in particular to do, except eat an incredibly delicious meal that we made ourselves:

BUT… we did decide to perpetuate an old Okinawan legend. Back in the 1970s, an American expat living in Japan was frustrated by the fact that he couldn’t find a turkey for Christmas dinner. Quite disgruntled, he ended up venturing to KFC instead. From then on, the Japanese believed that is how Americans celebrate Christmas… at KFC! KFC Japan has capitalized on the notion and advertised itself a THE place to go for Christmas Eve dinner. Nowadays, in certain areas, lines go for blocks for a bucket of chicken on Christmas Eve.

I’m not one to disrupt old legends, even if we are a day late. So on Christmas Day… off to KFC we went!

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