Overview: December (K-Pop, bike crash, and Christmas camp)

Ok, so I originally titled my previous post my November and December post, but I COMPLETELY forgot to post anything about December in there, so I edited that title to reflect that I ONLY talked about November in it. Oops! I was just so excited to post my Taiko pictures! :)

Ok, so now for December!

I met with a very sweet older Japanese man in Komono for dinner with the other Komono ALTs on the 1st. He took us out to a Nepalese Indian restaurant in our town and gave us some necklaces, which was kind! He is very sweet and makes all kinds of art! The only thing is he does not speak English very much so our friend Cara had to translate a good amount!

Four different kinds of curry! :)

On the 5th, I also went to see my first K-Pop concert (Big Bang) concert in Nagoya with Khiana, Cara, Ashley, and Justin! It was a lot of fun! There were a lot of people in very interesting outfits (Korean pop-star fashion?!) including leather pants, dyed hairstyles, and lots of black material face masks. I had only started listening to Big Bang that same month, but it was still a lot of fun! We had seats up pretty high, but we could still see a good deal. I bought a little light up ring that I waved to songs, and often times, I would catch myself looking not at the stage, but at the sea of waving lights. It was beautiful, and reminded me of twinkling stars or fireflies. The lights would bounce with the beat as people pounded their fists in the air and I really was mesmerized at points!

Us before the concert!

On the left is Nagoya Dome, where the concert was held! On the right is a shot of all the people lining up for merchandise! By the time we got there, a lot of things were sold out!

 

On December 8th I fell off my bike pretty badly, and had to go to the local hospital. I was on an early morning ride when I spaced out and flew straight into a gutter. Luckily I was wearing my helmet, but I scratched my face up pretty badly, and had very bad bruising on my knee and shin. The pain was pretty bad and I was feeling dizzy at work so I went to the hospital with a little note in Japanese saying what happened. The hospital is about a 5 minute bike ride from my house, so it is very close! It felt like a series of clinics rather than a hospital. When I headed in, a lady at one counter took me to another where I filled out forms about insurance. Then, I was sent to wait outside the office of the neurologist, who checked if I had a concussion and sent me down the hall to get a CAT scan. I came back and he told me everything was fine, but to come back if anything felt strange. Then, I was sent around the building to another specialist, who sent me back to the same place I got the CAT scan, but this time for an x-ray of my legs. I hobbled back to his office and was called in to be told that I was also fine, but that they discovered a teeny fracture that I didn’t know I had had! Then, I was sent to the pharmacy, where I picked up my painkillers and went home. The entire process wasn’t too bad! Other than the neurologist, nobody else spoke much English, but they did their best to make me feel comfortable! I was really relieved!

Then, on the 12th, I was invited over by a sweet lady who works at the train station by my visiting school.  She invited me and some of my English club students over her house to hear her friend play the koto, which is a traditional Japanese instrument. It is apparently the national instrument of Japan! I have a photo with all of us with the musician but it has student faces in it so I can’t post it ahh!! If you see me in person I can show you on my phone. :) The woman put on these little pick-like things onto her fingers, and she used them to strum, while sometimes moving the frets around! She played a few songs, and then the train station woman and her friend brought out some macha tea and snacks. It was delicious! After, we moved into her den, where she had a fire burning, and ate more snacks, and talked about her brother, who was an artist in New York for a period of time. :) It was such a wonderful experience! She had a beautiful house, and her garden was also breathtaking! Her husband is retired and cultivates the garden, which is full of stone paths, little trees, hedges… Like a typical Japanese garden! Wish I took a picture! Oh well. :) It was a nice visit!

This was the koto she played!

The next week was spent with some dinners with friends, teachers, and my school’s end of year party, which was interesting! Each party is different. Some of my friends told me wild stories of drunken wrestling matches at their school parties, but mine was very tame and calm. We played bingo, and people drank, but we all went home walking pretty straight. :) On the 19th, I went to Nabana no Sato with a friend, which is a park with a big illumination show in the winter! In the warmer months, it has flowers you can look at, as well as an onsen to check out.

And now for Christmas!

On the 21st, my English Club students held a Christmas party, during which the students decorated the chalk boards and brought in snacks to eat! It was a lot of fun! We got a really sweet group picture as well. :)

On the 24th, I met with my Komono and Yokkaichi friends and we had dinner at an Italian buffet restaurant in Sakura, which is really good. I brought some opłatek which my family sent me in the mail, and shared it with my friends! Sharing an opłatek is a Roman Catholic Christmas tradition in Poland. Opłatek is a thin wafer, usually with a scene of the Nativity on it. Before your wigilia (Christmas Eve dinner), you share this wafer with whoever is at your dinner table, wishing them health and whatever else you would like for the upcoming year. I think each family may have their own variations on it though! So we did it, we shared opłatek, a Polish tradition with Americans and Canadians, in an Italian restaurant in Japan hahaha! So cultural!

My December activities were rounded off with Christmas Camp, which was a 3 day English camp many of my English club students signed up for. We had a lot of fun, but it was a lot of time spent with people, which I was really happy to take a break from when it ended! My energy levels were depleted!

Anyway, now time for some random shots and reflections from the month! First, some shots from around my town in December:

December was also a wonderful month because my mom sent me a package (left) with some of my things from home! PJ pants, new winter boots, Christmas ornaments!

My mom sent me a Christmas wreath from home which I placed on my table! :)

And that is it for December! :) Next post will be about my winter vacation in Korea! :D

A

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