Sunday, December 26, 2010
Merry Christmas Santa San.
10 minutes is all it took to take the cable car up the snow covered mountain, two minutes is all it took to drape on double socks, hats and scarves and 10 seconds is all it took for me to fall ass over ears on the soft powdery snow that laid waste to nobody else that day but me. The mountain was a roughly iced cake below our feet, while above us God sprinkled some icing sugar over our heads in order to comply with the cooking instructions so often given by the folks from the food-network. We were also sure not to spoil as the temperature was a balmy -5 degrees Celsius.
A JET from Miyazaki had joined us for Christmas this year and as soon as we saw some snow falling outside we headed for higher ground. By the time we were done snowball fighting, photo taking and for some of us, falling on our bums, we were covered in snow and soaking wet. Our discomfort was however immediately overridden, as a big group of us stood around a kerosene heater, drinking hot chocolate and eating soft dumpling shaped buns filled with warm minced meat. There was a subtle camaraderie as everyone bonded over phrases of `samui desu ne? ` (it`s cold hey) and `hai, totemo samui desu` (yes very cold).
Christmas eve this year was a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, a little bit traditional and a little bit Japanese. Miss Miyazaki, Roland and I went to Beppu bay to see the annual Christmas fireworks being set off to the tune of everything from `chestnuts roasting on an open fire` to `Hey, hey you, you I don`t like your girlfriend` and these are not your grandmothers sparklers either, these are building shaking, sky igniting, Japanese rockets that explode into hearts, smiling faces and fiery flowers that fill your entire field of vision. The insane spectacle was almost enough to distract us from the fact that we were slowly freezing from our feet to our forefingers. We only thawed out once there was Christmas cake (no, not the fruit and booze variety) in our bellies and presents in our laps.
The next day we roasted a chicken that was surely stolen while on its way to tiny Tim`s house because it looked more like a prized turkey. We then proceeded to befriend a bottle of South African wine and tipsily caught the evening train (no driving even after only one sip of alcohol) into Beppu to go have a look at the 50% off Christmas sales. Roland just, just managed to stop me from face-planting on an escalator, when I tried to travel up on one heading down and all three of us sang carols all the way back to the station.
We all missed our families and friends but the snow, fireworks and two oceans white wine went a long way in giving us a very merry Christmas indeed.