When I was single and living in Japan, Christmas was actually a good distraction, the fact that Christmas is all about eating chicken and shortcake on Christmas eve here, made it more bearable as I dreamed of Mum's Chrissy eve dinner and all it's Yorshire pudding, pork crackling, gravy-laden glory. But not only the food, (although I needn't mention the Chrissy morning bacon and eggs breakfast, or the Christmas day lunch and week of left overs) it was also the feeling of Christmas that I missed, a special kind of atmosphere that only happens at Christmas, along with the fact that everyone exchanges presents and you get shitloads of loot. But as I said, being single was a good distraction, I could kind of forget about the whole family-factor. That whole system was ruined when I got married and had Ash, that damn family warm and fuzzy feeling started creeping back and the fact that I couldn't fully embrace it and let Ash experience it made me... frustrated. I think that's the best word for it, a mix of sadness, pangs of homesickness, and a pinch of 'fuck you Japan! thrown in.
This frustration wasn't helped by the fact I had to do a Christmas party at the school on Christmas day, at which time my darling of a supportive husband would be... Off surfing. In the snow... Dickhead.
So Christmas eve was nothing that special, except for the fact I found a little cake sampler box when I was out shopping and just had to get it, if I didn't either no other bastard would bother or we would end up with some sickly cream and strawberry sponge cake. I didn't go for the traditional KFC dinner, I believe we actually had tarako (fish eggs) spaghetti, how anti-Christmas can you get!? I then spent the next few hours baking Christmas cookies for the Christmas party at the school and flopped in to bed at about 1am covered in flour and oozing bitterness.
Christmas morning was as predicted, Ryota left at some ridiculous hour and Ash and I woke up to start getting things ready for the school party. I also recruited one of my elementary students to help me set up an hour before and gave her a special present for doing it, gotta love a bit of child labour, especially at Christmas time. I put on my happy face and Reindeer ears as the kiddies started piling in to the school with wild looks of hope and delight about the fact they were about to ingest the recommended amount of sugar for a week at 10am in the morning. As we all got to decorating cookies, SIL brought Ash to the school so he could join in the cookie decorating and destroying. I have to admit, the party went well and as all the kids were telling me how santa had come the night before in breathless bursts of excitement, I lost a bit of the frustration and just went with the flow.
When all the kiddies had left, and all the santa beard and sprinkles had been cleaned up, it was just me, Ash and SIL left at the school. I'd decided to skype my family from the school after the party and assumed SIL, would, umm, fuck off for that bit! But no, she stayed, hovering in the background or sitting around. Maybe she thought she was helping me by staying until I went home but I wish she just would have buggered off really. My family know the history of SIL and I and it made me chuckle when my mum said: "Is CF (cunt face) still there!?" Anyway, I just ignored her and finished the call with minimum blubbering, didn't really need a red nose to match my reindeer ears after all.
Ash and I got home and buggered around a bit until Ryota got home from surfing, when he informed me that it had been snowing at the beach and he felt like he was going to collapse at one point. Greeeaaaatttt. Grandma was classic at this point, she said to him: "You dickhead, get insurance before you kill yourself doing something so stupid!"
After we'd all had lunch (rice) and were relaxed we decided to do presents, Ash had about a zillion and was more than overwhelmed, but in a way that made me happy, Ryota got a few from me and some from my family which made him feel quite special and I got totally spoiled by my family and Ryota. He actually got me two presents as we'd never ended up getting anything for my birthday and he did quite well in that both were 'pretty' presents (A jogging watch and a dressy ring) rather than practical ones. The ring was a tiny bit too small so we've sent it back for exchange, due to having to do this I discovered it was ridiculously over-priced, but hey, who am I to complain if I'm bought expensive jewellery!?
That was pretty much it! We ordered pizza that night as I couldn't be arsed cooking and just kind of lazed around, which was nice. Not ideal Christmas style, but not that bad either.
We did make a promise though, that next Christmas we are not staying in Japan. OK, so when I say we made a promise, I mean I made Ryochan promise me we wouldn't stay in this damn place for Christmas! It doesn't have to be Australia, but I don't know if I can handle another year of asking the kids what they think of when they think about Christmas and they say: "Kentucky! Cake!" I'm thinking Thailand might be a nice idea...
And so, Christmas is over for another year, hope santa was good to you all!