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Reisverslag Happy New Year!
1 januari 2017
Happy New Year!
Let me start of by wishing all of you a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2017! And let me follow that with an aplogy for not posting during the last month ^^' I've been really busy, both for school and socially. So let me give you guys a short recap of December!
To start the party month off, I had my first Christmas party on December 5th! And although this did feel a bit early, if I'd been in The Netherlands I would've celebrated Sinterklaas. So not that much difference after all :) This was an international Christmas party organised by a group I didn't know before, located in Osaka. The party turned out less international than they might've hoped, but everybody sure had a great time!
Then on December 9th, there was a party organised by the university especially for all the exchange students. This party was held at the Takarazuka Hotel (read: 4-5 star hotel with more ballrooms and chandeliers you would ever need in 1 place). There was a buffet, where some of the food was simply re-stocked while other food was prepared right in front of your nose! There were speaches, there was entertainment, and everybody was dressed up real nicely :) I too wore a suit that evening.
The next day, I had a Christmas party in Kobe, at the house of a university teacher! :P One of her students invited me to church, there I met the teacher and her husband, as well as received an invitation to one of their 4 Chritmas parties. Sheis from Brazil and he is from Iran. Their house is HUGE! There wereabout 40 people at their party! Since it was a potluck party, everybody brought some food. not knowing what to get for 40 people, I just brought 2 bags of KitKatt :P Again, I had a wonderful time!
That Sunday, I went to the Takarazuka Grand Theatre, on the university's dime. Which is a good thing, because tickets to see the Takarazuka Revue cost over 70 euro's!!! Well, the good seats anyway XD Ours turned out to be about 30 euro's, which is more affordable, but they also make you wish you found out about the rentable binoculars before the show started rather than after it finished. Now, the Takarazuka Revue is famous throughout Japan. Why, you may ask? Because it is a group which consists of roughly 60 young women who play both female and male roles! And they do that SO well! It was an experience I'm not likely to ever forget!
Skipping to Wednesday, December 14th, I had pancakes for dinner with 4 friends :) 2 Japanese and 2 exchange students. The pancakes are like the American ones, nice and thick! And although the variety we could choose from was not what I'm used to (When it comes to pancakes, I am rediculously spoiled XD), we all had some seriously delicious pancakes! Mine had meat and egg on it, another lots of strawberries! The rest I don't remeber :P
Moving on to the 16th, there was a Christmas party organised by the GS-Network! Both exchange and Japanese students were present in great number and we basically played games all night :D Afterwards I went to an Indian restaurant with 3 friends, after which 2 went home and we went drinking for a bit with the 2 of us :P
The next day, there was another international Christmas party! This one organised by the same people who organise most of the international parties I attend, the people I met through the futsal event. This party was held in Kobe, and while most of their parties are held at bars, this one was held at an air B&B! Big living room to sit, eat, drink and talk, while the bedroom was used to stuff all of our bags and coats. Again, a wonderful evening!
Then on Monday the 19th, the GS-Network organised a sportsevent, called the GS-Cup! We were devided in teams, and after the warmup we played 5 or 6 different games/sports. dodgeball, basketball, volleyball, tag, rock-paper-scissors. And my team won!!! We even gotnan actual medal with our names on it! :D But even if we hadn't won, it was just great to be active with so many people! And afterwards, we went to a restaurant with SEVENTEEN PEOPLE, to have dinner together! One of the best days I've spent in Japan!
That Wednesday, I had a party from the Danran group. This is a group where foreigners can come to practice their Japanese speaking. And at this party, we worked together in groups of about 5 people to make "ozoni". This is a traditional Japanese New Year dish. It is basically a soup, filled with carrots, radish, spinach and mochi. Mochi is also something typical for Japanese New Year. It translates as rice cake, but doesn't really look like cake XD More like a soft paste or something. Either way, working together to make this was a lot of fun! And eating was very delicious, so job well done! ^^
Then on Thursday I had my grammar finals, and winter break would finally start! It started early though, because I needed to be in Osaka before 08:30! Because that was the time my bus to Nagoya left! This busride took 3 hours, but was surprisingly comfortable. I had more legspace than I anticipated, we stopped exactly halfway for restroom and food, there was free wifi on the bus and even a place to charge devices at every chair! So I spent the busride doing homework and playing some games :P Once in Nagoya I needed to find my train to Okazaki, and about 35 minutes later, after 5 long years, I returned "home". Granny from my homestay family of when I was in Japan 5 years ago picked me up from the station with her now 3 toy poodles. That afternoon we had ramen with me, granny, granny's oldest son, and one of the twins (by her youngest son). All the while we were just catching up on old times, and basically my entire staynin Okazaki was a trip down memory lane. And I loved every second of it! On Saturday me and granny went to watch the twins play their sportd; Mako plays softball and Riko plays basketball. On Sunday we all had dinner together for Christmas. The twins acutally made me a strawberry cake for Christmas! When I saw it I thought I was gonna cry from appreciation! :P And it tasted so goood! :D I also brought some Christmas presents for everybody, which made them all very happy ^^ Monday and Tuesday were somewhat uneventful. If I wasn't doing homework or talking to granny, I would re-discover Okazaki for myself. I was surprised by how much I still recognised or remembered. But even more surprised by how much seemed so very different from how I remembered it... And then on Wednesday, the time had already come to return. Too soon, but alas. Granny walked me to the station, assuring me that I should absolutely come again if I ever had the chance. My train left at 11:06 because my bus in Nagoya would leave at 12:00. The way home took about 40 minutes longer for some reason, might have been trafic, I don't know. From Osaka I did not immediately return home, however, because I had an appointment elsewhere. One of my Japanese friends, Rie, is a member of dance group super*NOVA, and they had their end of year performance that day. A "civil hall" that would make a number of Dutch theatres very jealous was the venue. And the performance was simply awe inspiring! 17 Scenes that told a Christmas story, each scene after it was played out was followed by a group that would perform 2 or 3 dances. I've seen ballet, jazz, hiphop, popping, and a number of freestyle dances as well. And each was more impressive than the last.
Then on the 30th of December, I went out for dinner to a kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) with a friend of mine. We both ate till we couldn't eat a single bite anymore XD We also had some interesting conversations and really just a good time :)
Which brings us to the last day of 2016. A day I spent celebrating a friends' birthday in the afternoon, while celebrating New Year by myself in the evening. A strange experience, to be sure :P I had never celebrated New Year by myself before. But I had food, drinks and movies, and after midnight my phone went absolutely bonkers for at least half an hour with messages! XD And I got to talk with one of my Dutch grannies on the phone, which was realy nice too :)
So yeah, that should bring you guys more or less back up to speed! My last month in Japan has started, lets see what it will bring me!
17 januari 2017 13:41 | Door: Tiny van Daatselaar
Hallo Laurens, wat een geweldige decembermaand heb jij gehad! En zo druk, dat ik het knap vindt dat je het nog zo uitgebreid kunt navertellen! Ik weet niet of je nu al helemaal klaar bent, maar feit is dat je alweer in je laatste weken zit! Ik wens je nog heel veel plezier daar en een goeie terugreis!! Hartelijke groeten en natuurlijk ook voor jou nog de beste wensen! Jos Tiny Marcella en Loretta
31 januari 2017 09:20 | Door: Laurens den Hartog
Sorry voor de late reactie, maar hartelijk bedankt voor je berichtje!
Ik zie je binnenkort wel weer n keer denk ik ^^