This past Saturday, we had the pleasure of attending a family Christmas party hosted by the Japan Society of Northern Ireland. These days family parties are far too rare; they are either for kids only or for adults only, so this was a great occasion for all of us to go out and have fun as a family while enjoying the company of others and soaking up a little culture at the same time.
Thanks to the hard work of many people we had a very delicious meal. There was fresh, made-in-front-of-us Okinamiyaki, Takoyaki, and Yakisoba, and each had a vegetarian version as well. I must admit that I didn’t try Takoyaki while I was in Japan as I was a little nervous of eating Octopus due to some seafood allergies, but I tried it on this occasion and it was quite good, though I did prefer the veggie version a little bit better.
Phil and Tristan have tried Okonamiyaki recently at another cultural event, so they both headed straight for that! I haven’t had yakisoba in the 9 years since I’ve left Japan, and it was just as good as I remembered it! This was the favourite for both Kallista and I. We must get a pair of ‘learning’ hashi/chopsticks for the children as they both want to use them, but have some trouble getting the hang of it.
There was also a wide selection of other delicious food to try and enjoy as everyone also brought some food to share. We all tried things that were new to us. It’s always nice to try new things that other people enjoy making and sharing. We took ginger cake and caramel popcorn. I will share this with you in an upcoming post, it’s sooo delicious! There was such a large variety of food, and so much of it!
The president of the society put on a magic show for the children, which was quite fun, and educational as well. I will only show this photo however, due to child protection I won’t show any photos of children who are not ours.
The children played pass the parcel. Tristan hasn’t done this for a couple of years, so I kept him company.
Santa made a grand entrance arriving on a Fire Engine with the Fire Service of Northern Ireland. Santa made Tristan’s week by calling him ‘Spiderman” when he passed by!
After the children went up to receive their gifts, Tristan was impressed that Santa had spelled his name correctly on the gift tag! Phil and I were surprised that both Tristan and Kallista went up to collect their gifts as they are both shy and sometimes Santa can be a bit of a strange character-a big guy with a huge beard, who you are unfamiliar with. Who can blame them?
For the past two years at the Mums and Tots groups Santa has had to come to Tristan as he wouldn’t go to Santa! So big strides were made this year.
A little later everyone gathered in a circle, young and not-as-young alike, and sang Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ in English, then we sang it in Japanese. Finally, both versions were sung at the same time, which was very nice to hear. It is interesting to note that in Japanese Rudolph does not have a name; he is simply known as the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I brought a copy of the Japanese version home, and we will be learning it together, minded children and all!
Next it was time for the adults to exchange gifts. We were asked to bring a small gift worth #3, which was fun to do. Phil wrapped some food from the Japanese section of the supermarket, and I made a little covered notebook with bookmark and tree ornament. I will post on these soon, as they were fun, practical gifts which I hope were received well. Phil received a jar of marshmallow fluff, which he’ll enjoy, and I received a little bear and some lavender shower gel. I’m afraid I’ve lost the bear as Kallista claimed it as soon as she saw it; holding it tight on the hour’s drive home, and half of today as well! A good gift for keeping Kallista calm, and to help me relax at the end of my day with some lavendaar before crawling into bed…speaking of which, that is where I am heading now.
This will become a tradition for us, I’m sure. What traditions do you have in your family?