June 20, 2006

Osaka, year three



Wow, I can't believe its been almost a year since my last update here. I guess I've been really busy with work. At the time of my last entry I'd been promoted at work and have been steadily getting more and more responsibilities. This keeps me very busy every day, and over the past year I've been experimenting with technology. My friend Goerge of "The Scarecrows" fame came to visit me in august '05 and stayed at my place for a few days. I showed him around Osaka a little bit, but he did a lot of exploring on his own. He was the first friend I made when i started Uni so long ago, and we graduated together, litterally, he sat next to me at the ceremony. So, now he lives in Korea and teaches English. The fall came and my younger brother and his wife had a baby. He is absolutely adorable. Christmas came around and it was freaking cold. I think we ate christmas dinner...i can't remember.

New Years Day was really special. You seee, here in Japan christmas isn't an important holiday. People don't really do anything special, and you can feel the fact that its an adopted holiday. The Christmas Sales posters with a bleeding crucified Christ with an xmas hat should give you a clue. The real special day here's New Years Day. On that day we drove out to Kyoto, to spend the first couple days of the year at our friend Mizuho's parents house. It was a beautiful sunny day, a crisp and clear. We got there about 4pm I think, after having lunch in Nara.

We arrived at the house and Mizuho and her parents were waiting for us outside the house, welcoming us and exchanging New Year greetings. Goldie had me practice the traditional greeting on the drive there. i have now forgotten it. "(something something) Omedeto gozaimasu!". Mizuho's parents live in souther Kyoto Prefacture, near the border with Nara Pref. Their place is in a small suburb, and their house backs into a thick bamboo forest. It was definitely not the kind of house you find in Osaka. it has a large yard, and the house is quite comfortable and spacious, it feels a lot like houses back home. (Note to self, live in the countryside, bigger homes there.)

We exchanged gifts as is customary when you visit someone's home in Japan, but i wasn't ready for what awaited me that day. I was astonished by japanese hospitality. Mizuho's parents don"t speak a lot of English, and well, my formal and elegant japanese is virtually non existent in situations when i need to use it, somehow I can only access the basic utterances of an infant at these times. (Sake however, facilitates communication a great deal as i found out later)