Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas '09

We had our first Christmas in Japan!  I have to say- I had the MOST fun shopping this year.  I found THE neatest stuff!  There was no worry about buying them something they already had as long as I stuck to the Japanese stuff.  I shopped at a holiday bazaar- filled with Japanese vendors.  They even had the most beautiful furniture.  I am starting my Christmas account now- got to buy some of that stuff next year.
I found Kokeshi dolls.  They are these beautiful dolls handcarved out of wood.  I have heard that the more popluar the artist- the more expensive they can be.  I found birthday dolls for my mom and aunt and an old man for my uncle.  I also sent them to my mother in law and sisters in law.  Here are the pictures of the first ones mentioned- I never took pictures of the others I bought.  The first two are birthday dolls- the pictures don't do them justice- they are gorgeous.

For the in-laws- I also bought all my neices and nephews their own chopsticks and sent lots of candy and goodies.  I heard my father in law even tried the dried anchovies- he chased it down with a beer of course!
 The bottom right are my favorite coffee candies- they are kind of hard and chewy- and delicious.  Pringles are big here- and come in all sorts of flavors.  The bag that says Merry Christmas actually has cotton candy in it- I had no idea when I bought the bag since I can't read sticks yet.
Dried anchovies and "beer snacks". yumm  (No I haven't been brave enough to try to the dried anchovies, not yet...)
The bag to the right holds rice crakers- they are sooo good!!  The ones I buy have a little bit of frosting on them- so they are salty and sweet- kind of like kettle corn.

The last picture shows the tissue packs.  You can find these everywhere.  A lot of restaurants and bathrooms don't supply napkins, tissues and/or toilet paper.  So people usually carry their own packs of tissues and also handkerchiefs.  They come in handy during the hot and humid summer too!  Also, the businesses like to advertise their prodcuts on packs of tissues (and fans in the summer).  So you will be sure to receive a few free packs when you're out and about in the city.  They hang out by the train stations and busy street corners.  I always grab them when they are being handed out.

This year for Christmas we went to Tokyo Disneyland.  We didn't go on Christmas day, but on the Tuesday before.  (Apparently Tuesday is the slowest day- it turned out to be true.)  Hubby was upset that morning when we left because we didn't get up early enough.  He was worried that we would not have enough time in the park.  It turned out we had plenty of time.

Tokyo Disney is a replica of the Dsineyland in Anaheim- just smaller and watered down.  It was not the same of course but still fun!  Actually- I was a little disappointed it was not more different- i would have liked to see Japanese inspired rides- not just the replcas of the rides from the States.  But- it was different hearing the characters speak Japanese!  Our first ride was Star Tours- the kids laughed at the little robots carrying on in Japanese.

I liked the fact that there were better food choices- Hubby said it wasn't important to him but I appreciated tehre being more places and more choices for food.  We ate at the Blue Bayou- the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean restuarant.  We hardly had to wait even.  I had a delicious gratin with salmon, scallops and snow crab.  Sister had the cutest Mickey plate.

She couldn't wait to dig into her flan before we could get a picture.

I think Hubby enjoyed the giant smoked turkey legs that were sold in the little stands (they were the most popular too.)  We kept smelling curry- turned it out it was the popcorn.  All the kids had these little buckets they were eating popcorn out of- they even had little crarrying straps to put around their neck.  Of course we had to pay $20 for our very own.    They had different flavored popcorn at different spost through out the park.  We tried the curry and the "salty".  We missed out on the soy sauce flavor though.

Front entrance to the park.
The "receptionist" area in the  Monsters Inc ride.  It was pretty cute- just  not worth the long wait.

One observation I made was that the Japanese seemed to be more interested in the "kiddy" rides like the Monster's Inc ride the kids are waiting at in the picture above.  I think us American prefer the thrill rides.  By the way- we waited almost 2 hours at that Monsters Inc ride- it lasted maybe 3 minutes- not worth it at all!  Brother told me it was a "rip off."

All in all we had a great time and it was an experience we couldn't have anywhere else.  I admit I would have rather gone to see something with historical significance- but you can't win them every time huh?  The drive over was about 2.5 hours and the way back took us 1 hour 15 minutes.  Driving at 10 am is a big difference from dricing at 11pm.  Though I must say it reminded me of LA at night- still plenty of traffic on the road in Yokohama that time of night. 

Christmas eve we arranged for a special visit from Santa.  Brother was so surprised!!  I need to upload the pictures still- sorry.  He is actually smiling- I love it.  Later on that night he asked if we were leaving cookies out for the "real" Santa.  Dohh!  Hubby just laughed when I shot him a "look".

We had a good Christmas this year- in spite of being so far away from our families.  It is ironic- I never wanted to go to the in-laws at Christmas time- I didn't find it enjoyable and wanted to make our own traditions.  Now I just long to be near family.  Maybe I am getting older?  (I KNOW I am getting older- but maybe that is why I long to be near family now?)  I had hoped to have people over for Christmas dinner- but I couldn't rustle anyone up.  I admit I was saddened by this- but I got over it quickly.  We were originally thinking of going to Australia for Christmas next year.  But I told Hubby I want to see his family next year instead.  The funny part is that when he called his mom to wish her Merry Christmas- she told him she wants to get away for Christmas next year. He didn't know how to tell her we wanted to go to her house...

I hope all my bloggy friends had a wonderful Christmas!!! (or if you celebrate something else- I hope that was wonderful too!)


  1. what fun...i would love to visit japan sometime...sounds like you had a pretty good christmas!

  2. We did. I was a little homesick for family- but otherwise we had a great time.
    You should definitely visit Japan. I love it here so far!


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