In addition to the Christmas themed party that several of us were a part of during the recent midweek, a number of us decided that it would be a lot of fun to throw a shindig of our own. Thomas was kind enough to host us over at his place, so in all eight people gathered for some hearty food and a film.
One of the most popular winter foods in Japan is nabe. This is simply a large pot filled with vegetables and pieces of meat and broth, all cooked up by a small propane stove. I occasionally cook one of these for myself, since I can then eat it for a few days in a row. Also maintaining a constant pot by adding a few more ingredients on a daily basis is no problem; the icy temperatures inside my house keep it fresh enough. This time around we had a kimchi nabe and some other white one which both turned out excellent.
Here was our table o’ cheer.
After a long dinner of chatting about winter plans and such, we eventually moved it over to the living room for an obligatory Christmas movie. This time we selected ‘A Muppet’s Christmas Carol’ which I had somehow not yet seen. The four women basically passed out immediately, but we men enjoyed the show. It was a pretty good movie though and it reminded me of why movies of yore (1992) are better. Despite being what I would call a children’s flick, there was plenty of difficult vocabulary and clever wordplay throughout. There is no reason to spoon feed kids as we do today. They’re smart, and they’ll figure it out just fine. Also, that sensation of watching a childhood favorite and realizing how much more depth the movie actually had would be shame to lose. (”Combination hookah and coffee maker. Also makes julienne fries!”) I was also really surprised that some of the Japanese people had never even heard of Dickens’ story. I know that the Japanese don’t really care about Christmas except as a way to sell stuff, but I figured that story was pretty much universally known.
The third and final stage of the night had us reconvening around the kotatsus to warm our legs and eat some desert. As a special treat, Akane had made a pumpkin cheesecake from scratch, which we all happily devoured. Japan does have some delicious deserts of its own, but basically any time they attempt a western delicacy, it disappoints on a grand scale. Generally cheesecake would fall under this umbrella too, but this was an exception. Thomas added to the festivities by making some eggnog, which I could not ever in my life remember actually trying. I had only memory of some sickly, yellowing carton of it that always seemed to find its way into our fridge this time of year while growing up. Now in my adult state, I went on enjoy two glasses of the stuff, though the first tasted drastically better than the refill.
This made me a happy man.
At last we got everything cleaned up and went our separate ways. This was likely the last we would see of each other before the winter holidays, so we added handshakes to the procedure. All in all, it was a nice evening, though I was very much looking forward to a bit of R&R at home until bed.