For being a country of mostly Shintoists and Buddhists, the Japanese sure know how to get in the Christmas spirit. Last night, my Japanese tutor (yes, the one who's teaching me to read in Japanese with Curious George) invited me to her company Christmas party. But what I haven't mentioned is that my sensei is a woman of many talents - not only is she a fantastic teacher, but she's also the owner of a sucessful scuba shop in Fukui City (and she knows how to rock a pair of reindeer antlers - see above).
What better way to get in the クリスマス spirit than with a room full of Japanese scuba divers?
The party, held at a local restaurant, was a blast. Winning a round of bingo and downing a few glasses of wine helped break the ice for me, and soon I was chatting away (slowly, awkwardly, but in Japanese!) with my sensei's customers and friends. Sensei was kind enough to provide nametags for everyone, translating guests' names (written in kanji) into hiragana (the Japanese alphabet that I can read) and romanji (Roman letters, like we use in English). Because of this, I became fast friends with a Japanese guy named...MAC.
But a Japanese party usually isn't just a party - it's actually a series of parties. Party No. 2 was at a karaoke bar, where I belted out "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" with a Japanese guy whose voice could've passed for Bing Crosby's. Party No. 3 was back at the scuba shop, where we had a few more beers n' snacks before calling it a night. Yes, I slept at the scuba shop. (Actually, on a futon in an apartment above the scuba shop, but it's fun to say, just the same.)
Random? Yes. But oh-so-fun.