Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas - a mixed bag

We had a roast chicken with stuffing and sweet potatoes for our Christmas Eve dinner. We even had a bottle of champagne! Things were shaping up nicely. Then it took a turn into the unusual. We couldn't very well have dinner without my in-laws since we all live together, so we had told them we'd be having an American style Christmas dinner. I decided that sacrificing my Thanksgiving (i.e. not having one at all) was one thing, but not having any kind of Christmas dinner was another. Having purchased the chicken we figured they could join us and suck it up if they didn't like the side dishes (chicken is an easy sell at least). My MIL was happy to join in, FIL was pretty noncommittal and unenthusiastic but along for the ride which is standard. No problems!

Then my in-laws decided to invite the neighbor couple for dinner as well. Now I'm nervous that we won't have enough food. My MIL offers to make some vegetables and I say "Great!" I don't really think that Japanese style vegetables will necessarily "complement" our food, but they won't clash terribly and I don't want folks to go hungry. Then I hear the couple will bring fugu (a type of fish). Okay by me especially since I know they'll all eat it - me I'm only interested in my chicken! Later in the day my husband casually mentions that we'll also be having nabe. Huh. Turns out that the fugu they brought is actually a whole package deal - fish, vegetables, noodles etc. This means we're now drowning in food and I'm finding it hard to decline the bowls full of fish etc. that are being dished out my way.

On the one hand, it was nice and festive to have a few extra folks around. On the other hand, it's really difficult for me to get things the way that I like them. I'm constantly feeling like there is no ability for people to compromise and just have American food for one meal, despite the fact that I'm expected to eat Japanese food (and nothing but Japanese food) every meal of every day. Granted, we might not have had enough food last night since I didn't know when we went shopping that we'd be feeding 6 people instead of 4, so the additional food may have been needed, but I kind of doubt it. Rather than mope about it though, I'm trying to look at it as a real "international" exchange. We had an "East meets West" Christmas Eve dinner!

I do wish that we'd had a bit more time to ourselves. I was hoping that Peanut and I would get to spend some time with Gboy, but he ended up entertaining the guests last night so I had to read her "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by myself. This morning we did give her a few small gifts before the accountant arrived to spend the rest of the morning here with Gboy thus leaving Peanut and I on our own. Not ideal, but I'm trying to focus on the fact that at least he's here with us and maybe we can find something fun for the 3 of us to do today. Since Christmas isn't a big holiday here in Japan, everything should be open right?

Updated to add: I really should stop whining, things could be so much worse. Take this for example.... Ugh. What a way to spend the holidays.


  1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment that you left on my blog this evening! It's always wonderful to meet a fellow traveler on a similar road and know that you've encountered someone else who "gets it." I'm looking forward to reading more about your interesting life in Japan and following along! Merry Christmas - that sentiment is a little late for you but a little early for me here in the States!

  2. I'm glad that you found a way of bringing a taste of American Christmas tradition into your home despite the unexpected turn of events. Sounds like a good start, and hopefully with each holiday it will get easier to introduce more American customs. Merry Christmas!

  3. Sorry to hear your Christmas dinner didn't go as well as planned. I agree about wanting to just have a plain normal American meal sometimes... at least your husband is open to it... I feel like I have to beg and plead for something thats not Japanese.

    Hope you had a Merry Christmas and that the 3 of you got some good old fashioned family time.

  4. I am hoping I can get my relatives to do Thanksgiving with me the regular way, but I think I'll have to get my mom to mail us the cream of mushroom soup!

    Sorry things weren't just as you wanted. It can be so nice in a new place to have a few things just like home.

  5. Wow! I can't imagine how different everything must feel. I'm sorry the dinner didn't go exactly as planned, but hope that you had a very Merry Christmas nonetheless. :-)