This weekend, I was invited around to a family's house for dinner and to help them put up Christmas decorations. My friend and I went over in the afternoon and got all festive and put tinsel and baubles and lights and wreaths in almost every spot possible. The piano was played, carols were mauled and the special Disney carol-singing Mickey Mouse quickly had last year's batteries replaced. We stayed for dinner and were plied with wine and chu-hais and more food than I ever thought possible for a normal Sunday dinner.
This is the first time that I've been actively included by a family in Ono, and it's yet another reason to add to the list of why I'm thinking of staying. It's taken almost 18 months of trying to be involved and being a visible part of a small community to get to this point, and I don't think I'm ready to walk away from it yet.
We put fairy lights all through this tree and it looked pretty!
And I got to play the new Wii that Santa bought early to the Ao's house. Sidenote: it was really really cool. I'm the antithesis of a game nerd, case in point: my brother and sister, who are both mentally handicapped are better at Nintendo than I am. The whole package is sleek and it's really hard not to be sucked in by the whole speckiness of it all. It's good to see that finally, gaming companies are doing something about minimising the impact that sitting and playing games for hours on end has on rising obesity levels.
Another brand spanking new reason is that I think I may have just won my very first nenkyu battle and the right to use my unofficial time in lieu to travel instead of being made to use it to go home a few hours early. Biding my time and waiting 18 months before I've really needed to become the difficult ALT actually worked. I think I made everyone else's afternoon a little more interesting too, as it took two English teachers, Kyoto-sensei, about 4 phone calls to the office ladies, my refusal to accept an utterly infuriating explanation of 'but that's the Japanese way', all of which was conducted in the dead center of the staff-room, and it was almost all the other teachers could do to stop themselves from staring outright and trying to furtively listen to the outcome. Here's hoping they'll still talk to me at the bon-enkai...