The Holidays in Japan: Christmas, Part 2

The last time I spent Christmas in Japan, it was a rather lonely affair. It was just me and my boyfriend at the time, sitting in a cramped hotel room in Kyoto eating KFC and convenience store Christmas cake from the edge of our bed. We were heading down to Hiroshima the next morning, which was sure to be a good time, but the holiday itself was nothing special.

This year, although I was also in Japan, away from home and family, it was a vastly different experience. Instead of a quiet night differentiated from the ordinary only by the fur-trimmed hat atop the Colonel's head, Christmas was a week-long affair with enough friends, food, and debauchery to almost erase the flash of envy that would pop up everytime one of my high school friends or cousins sent me a picture from balmy, blue-skied Hawaii.

And while I could thank my "adulting" skills for putting myself in that situation, my gratitude would definitely be misplaced. This Christmas, and really every great situation that I've found myself in during these last few months have really been all thanks to luck. Or fate, or destiny, or whatever you want to call it.

I've been incredibly fortunate in my JET experience in so many ways. My supervisor is responsive and really cares about my well-being. The teachers at all of my schools are warm and inclusive. And, perhaps most importantly, I've found a group of friends who I've been able to connect with faster and more deeply than I have with anyone before. I'm even lucky enough to have one of them as my nextdoor neighbor, free for me to bother any time I want someone to go out to eat with or just feel like having a Netflix binge partner.

I may have been away from my biological family this year, but it felt as if I had found another little mis-matched family up here. Our holiday celebrations brought together people from Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and included a night out in the clubs in Osaka, a house party, multiple nights of movies and charades, and even a bit of droning (check out some shots of my area that my friend Jerry got in the video at the bottom of the post!). Although I'm going to do my best to be home for the holidays next year, this Christmas was definitely one I'll never forget.