Today was the annual LG holiday party. This has gotten to be the highlight of our year. I met these ladies the year we moved to Japan and we have been meeting weekly ever since which is actually something rather out of the norm around these parts.
Christmas isn’t really a holiday here and truth be told I’d rather not put up a tree and such but it really blesses my guests so I go ahead and decorate the artificial tree we bought when we moved here. I set up the little snow village under it that I’ve had for years. That village brought my grandchildren so much fun when they were little. Gosh how they loved playing with it.
We always do this party as a pot-luck with a gift exchange “American style” by writing our names on slips of paper and tossing them into a box-and then drawing out a name. You buy a gift for the person that you “drew out of the box”.
Japanese stye gift exchange is somewhat different- it goes like this- you buy a gift for a set amount and bring it to the party or gathering. All the gifts are placed together and numbered. The numbers are also written on slips of paper and put in a box and then everyone draws a number out of the box. The number you draw out is the number of the gift that you “win”.
I’ve seen some strange things happen with Japanese gift exchange. Once a friend of mine “won” a pair of men’s socks. I asked her…so, what will you do with them? She said that she would re-gift them. I dunno-that’s no fun. Our group has really come to love the “American” way of gift exchange. The first year that we did it they reported that shopping for a specific person was much more fun and it made the event special.
They always enjoy the tree and the decorations. I cleared the regular table out of our TV tatami room to make room for our party. This is an 8 mat room-kind of standard size. Rooms in Japanese houses are multi-functional. It isn’t unusual to clear out a room to make way for a gathering.
Opening the doors between the tatami room and the kitchen makes the space bigger. Our old home is very simple but I love it and I’m really thankful for it. The white “thing” in the right corner is a kerosene heater. I had two on today to keep the rooms warm.
The cozy clutter of a old-style Japanese kitchen that I have honestly come to love. It’s comforting to me somehow.
One of the ladies brought a mashed potato Christmas tree salad she fashioned. Under the broccoli are mashed potatoes!
My gift was awesome. I was given this interesting kanji book that I love!
It shows a kanji on one page and a picture of what the kanji means on the other page.
The kanji below is “moon”- tsuki.
Then there is “shadow” – kage.
Here is “person”- hito.
In the gift bag was also a little glass plate panted with pretty flowers.
We always have some sort of activity- this year Mrs. A taught us how to make this little basket. Harder than it looks. I made the green one.
At around 3:00pm everyone left and I began the clean-up.
Our tatami room, the party set up put away.
Now for the set up of the kotatsu table. The rug goes down. Then the chairs. After that the kotatsu table frame.
Next, the blanket is put on the frame.
Last, the table top gets set on top and we have a cozy place to sit in the evenings which- is where I am writing this post!
We have a typical old home where nothing really matches. The rug doesn’t match the blanket and the curtains (in the other room) don’t match anything but that is one of the things that I have let go since living here- the need to be “perfect” and coordinated. At one time in my life that was something that used to stress me. Not any more. Actually-I suppose we could have things that matched but I buy things that are in our budget-meaning the things that are all coordinated are far more expensive. We are trying to live as minimalist as we can-because we enjoy that life-style. There is a freedom that comes with being satisfied with what you have. We love our cozy little space.
Just sort of today’s diary post…nothing fancy. No eloquent words- I’m too pooped for anything fancy tonight. Wonderful day today…I’m blessed and very thankful.