Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Change of Tune?

This will probably be the last entry for a month or so, because I'm off to Australia tomorrow. How exciting! I'll be visiting Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney and seeing some long lost cousins who reside in that part of the world, and are bound to show me a good time.

There has still been no decision on the re-contracting front, and I think I'll wait until my birthday until I commit. There's an old samurai saying that goes something like this: "No decision should take longer than the time required to draw seven breaths." Don't worry, I've been having really really long deep breaths.

I did however sign up for the Returners Conference in late February. It's for JETs who are leaving Japan, to give them ideas and practical advice on jobs and career paths. Reading the information they sent me, it looks like a good event. I wish it was in January, before the re-contracting deadline.

So I will be approaching Australia with an open mind. I might find some interesting new opportunities and challenges down under. There must be a reason for the following fact from the BBC News Website.

"1.3 million Britons in Australia represent the largest number of Brits in any one country outside the UK. That's the same as the USA and Canada put together. "

Can you snowboard in Australia? I think it's possible. I had my first snowboarding trip of the year last weekend, in terrible conditions. Snowstorms, whiteouts and limited runs eroded my enthusiasm, and by far the best thing was the evening's entertainment.

11 people staying in one room on futons at the foot of the slope in Nagano Prefecture. 'Mafia' and 'Onsen Olympics' were the highlights. While I stayed fairly sober and clothed myself, several people got very drunk, and very naked.

Mind you, group nakedness is not an issue in Japan, were families can bath together and onsens offer all the amenities of a luxury spa at cheaper rates. I regularly bath in the natural hot springs at my local wellness resort! To be honest, I think I am at my happiest in Japan when I'm relaxing alone in the outdoor spring on a cold winters night. It's hard not to enjoy, but old naked men sitting too close to you doesn't always help.

I was asked about Christmas and New Year in Japan, and unfortunately I won't be experiencing it again this year. Christmas involves eating any kind of cake on Christmas Eve, usually involving strawberries from what I can gather, and calling it a Christmas Cake. On the 25th, all the cakes are reduced in price, after all, who would want to eat a cake on Christmas Day! What about a good old fashioned Christmas dinner? Why, KFC of course! From Wikipedia:

"KFC is so prevalent in Japan that many Japanese unknowingly consider it to be a Japanese Company. On Christmas day many families (who have made reservations weeks in advance), have their traditional Christmas dinner at KFC. Colonel Sanders has become somewhat of a cult figure in Japan. Not only is there a life-sized statue of the Colonel in front of every KFC, but his memorabilia like wind-up toys and figurines can be found at many toy stores throughout Japan."

What's that Mum? KFC is already fully booked?!

I guess we'll be eating McDonald's chicken nuggets for Christmas this year.

The New Year here is a bit like our Christmas. Food, family and religion. On New Year's Eve people will be lining up at Buddhist temples to be the first throw a few coins and pray for a good year at the stroke of midnight. I don't know, I think I'd rather be drunk at a party somewhere. Last year that somewhere was on the beach in Koh Phangan, this year, somewhere Australian.

I'll let you know how it goes. Next entry, New Year's resolutions? Could be..

That's all for now,
Merry Christmas to my friends all over the world, and A Happy New Year!!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey richface!
just caught up on your blog -look i'm leaving a comment and everything :o) Just wanted to say merry chrstmas and happy new yr etc! hope you've had a good one love sally xxx P.S Just thought you might like to know that I had to think of a type of weather beggining with 'm' in a game of seventeens the other night and got completely mocked for suggesting the word muggy!

3:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I just googled my surname and found your blog. Are we related??? I live in Queensland, Australia. Cheers, Lisa

2:32 am  
Blogger Richard said...

muggy is a word!

Lisa, I was just in Queensland! My cousins live there, but they don't have the same surname as us. We must be related somehow, send me an email (our surname


3:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok ok muggy's a word, and apparently you can buy it on ebay! from sally x

6:30 pm  

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