(My Second) Christmas in Japan!

Me with my baby stocking that Tori got/made for me!

My first Christmas away from home was in 2007 when I was studying abroad in Tokyo at Waseda University. Here is a snippet from my journal entry dated December 24th, 2007:

Here in Japan it’s Christmas Eve. December 24th. This day used to fill me with such joy and happiness, but now I don’t feel anything. It just feels like any ordinary day. I realize now that Christmas as a holiday is nothing without the people to celebrate it with.

But this 2011 blog Christmas post is not sad.. it is happy! Because this year in Japan, I had people to celebrate it with! Awesome, lovely, amazing friends. And that made all the difference in the world.


Left to right: My stocking, Kimberly’s stocking, Kyle’s stocking, Tori’s stocking

I got into the Christmas spirit a little late this year. But thanks to Amazon.com and iHerb.com, my immediate family’s presents arrived on time. My extended family’s presents arrived on time, but I sent it to the wrong address… So they will have to open that when they get home.

It was Christmas Eve when I felt the most “Christmas-y.” I had gotten up, wrapped presents, ran errands, gone last-minute Christmas shopping, worked out, met a friend for tea, delivered my supervisor’s present to his house, dressed up for the holiday shindig hosted by another JET a few towns over…

Kimberly and I left for the shindig at 5:45pm and caught the train. Upon entering the JET’s house, I was immediately accosted by some horrible GI distress. I will leave the details of that to your imagination. I chatted with people for a while and soon it was time to go home, because there was only an 8pm train or a 10pm train. Nothing in between! And let me tell you, I am so glad we took the 8pm. This is because the situation with my stomach decided to take a turn for the worse. This was not like my usual sensitive stomach woes, but felt instead more like food poisoning. Whatever was inside my body, my body wanted it out. Thank goodness there was a bathroom on the train, even if it was a squat toilet. It got worse and worse, but I managed to make it up to my apartment, pull up my futon pad next to my heater, and lay down. Oh, and I put on the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack in hopes that it would make me feel better faster.

I laid there and laid there… painpainpain. It was past 11pm when I was able to make it out of my house and transfer myself to Tori’s futon in their living room. Kyle came over to help me carry blankets and presents that I had thankfully wrapped earlier. I curled up under the blankets and we opened Christmas Eve presents! For the past few years I had elected not to open a Christmas Eve present, so this was a nice surprise. I got an awesome teal sweater from Tori!

We then watched A Christmas Story, which I had not sat down and watched for a while. I know it is on TV every single year in America, but it has been a while since I have watched the whole thing. My dad loves that movie. I unfortunately did not make it through the whole thing and fell asleep after the “soap poisoning.”

Once the movie was over, we all got ready to bed, wished each other a merry Christmas, and went off to sleep. Kimberly and I slept on futon mats on the living room floor and Tori and Kyle were in their bedroom. Merry Christmas Eve!


I slept as well as I could, considering the circumstances. I woke up around 5am and dozed until about… 7:30-ish? I think that was around the time that everyone began to rouse themselves.

Once everyone was ready and “in position,” Kyle put on the Santa hat and made sure everyone had presents. We went youngest-to-oldest, as is customary in my house as well. It was awesome watching them open their presents… Felt just like what my family does in America!

CIMG6715Tori opening up a gift from Kyle

CIMG6713Kimberly overjoyed with makeup in a sparkly case!

CIMG6716The awesome red, white, and black American flag sweater that Kimberly and I got Tori from her favorite hip clothing store

CIMG6717My pile o’ gifts with my stocking!
You can see my electric blanket from Kimberly, socks + hair turban from Tori, gluten-free brownie mix from Kyle…
Among other neat things!


You can bet that we had Christmas music with the “fireplace” on!
(HD fireplace courtesy of YouTube)


The aftermath!
BOOM! Explosion of blankets and presents! (That is Kimberly’s dad she is skyping with on the TV)


When I got home, I had a Christmas card from my family waiting for me. The above was underlined. I missed my family very much and it made me sad to think of them having another Christmas without me, but there will be others. I know they keep me in their hearts as they are in mine. It was hard not to wish I was there with them, but I had an awesome Christmas with my Hirosaki family. I have to find happiness wherever I am!

Even though I was fatigued and battling the weird stomach thing, this year I had a place to belong and people to share my favorite holiday with. I owe a big thank you to everyone in Japan (and abroad) who helped make my Christmas special this year.


5 Comments to “(My Second) Christmas in Japan!”

  1. Awwww what a fun post!! I loved Christmas this year with you guys!! Merry Christmas again! And a happy New Year to come!!! <3

  2. Merry Christmas! I’m glad you had friends to spend it with. Hope you feel better soon!

  3. Merry Christmas from Sendai!!

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