Sunday, December 25, 2005

She's Here, She's Here, She's Here, She's Here!!!!!!!!

Gwynne is here in all of her glory and beauty and fun and sweetness and insights and energy and love and happiness! I started jumping up and down and screaming with joy at the thought of Gwynne humming as she eats her food. Only one of many things I missed about Gwynne. Gwynne's blogging is inspiring me to blog again and hopefully more regularly. There has been so much going on, as usual I don't know where to begin. I was telling Gwynne yesterday that I only blog about 25% of what's happening in Japan (probably less), because there's so much all the time that I can't keep up with it and I'm just not disciplined. So, I will try harder! Also, I'm a perfectionist, I want it to be perfect and if it's not perfect then why post it, so it takes me a long time to write the simplest stuff, because I overanalyze it, which is just too time consuming especially since I'm not even writing anything that controversial or crazy, it's mostly day to day observances. Also, I keep forgetting my camera at the most important times! Yay for cell phone cameras.

This is going to be a long blog, because there is so much I want to say about what's been happening this past week. How many times have I said this before??? The good news is Gwynne has been blogging like crazy, so check out her blog as well. They are full of great observances that have become everyday stuff for me that I don't even think about anymore, so it's really fun to listen to and see Gwynne's excitement about stuff around Japan. I have to write this blog in chronological order or I'm going to forget something. I've decided to make this go more smoothly, I better break this up into several different blog entries.

Friday, December 16th

My "Bon Enkai" (not sure how to spell that), but it's the end-of-the-year good-bye-work-party was on Friday. The kanji for bon enkai literally means to forget the year. The teachers had planned it at an onsen (hot springs) hotel about 30 minutes outside of Himeji. The teachers spent the night, but I couldn't because we were leaving for Osaka the next morning to meet with friends, wander and pick up Gwynne. The hotel was gorgeous in an old, traditional, out in the country, simple, Japanese style gorgeous. I wish I could've stayed the night, I will have to go back, since it's only a bus ride away. There were approximately 40 of us sitting at tables low to the floor, eating nabe. Nabe is great, easy and very comforting and warm food. Basically, it's eating out of a ceramic pot that's sitting on a burner in the middle of the dinner table. In the ceramic pot is a broth, where you add and boil vegetables, tofu and meat and just keep adding more food to the pot while you keep taking and eating it from your bowl. It's very communal. Someone left a nabe burner and pot in my apartment so we make it quite regularly, it's easy and healthy and tasty and fun. There was a special meat with this nabe that all of the teachers kept telling me I might not like because it smells strongly. It's called ino-shi-shi. It's some sort of wild boar and it was actually quite delicious and I have no idea how to describe it, except that it is a bit gamey and strong. We did a secret santa where we could only spend around $10. I gave some chopsticks and a holder and I received a traditional style heating thingie. It's a container that you pour hot water into and put in your bed to help warm up your bed. Usually at the "enkai" or work party, there is a 2nd and sometimes 3rd stage. So, first stage is where you always eat food and 2nd is usually another bar and some karaoke. I left after 2nd stage since my ride home had to go as well. Which was for the best since I had to get up early to go to Osaka.

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