Juxtaposing Christmases

I thought I’d take a few moments to do a Christmas post. Merry Christmas and all the trimmings wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this year. Well, unless you don’t celebrate Christmas. Then I am just sending you warm fuzzy happy feelings at this time of the year.

My interestingly-titled (hopefully) post is about the differences from this Christmas to the previous two, one of which I had in Japan. Let’s get the big one out of the way first – the weather! Yes, it’s certainly nice, despite the strong connection snow has with Christmas, for it not to be a wintery wonderland out there in Melbourne. Today (Christmas Eve) it was a sunny 25 degrees, and tomorrow it’s going to be a few degrees cooler, but that is celcius and it isn’t NEGATIVE 25!

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Last year it was pretty gosh darned cold – and to be honest, Christmas isn’t up to that much in Japan when you’re in a smallish city in Iwate. Yes, there are decorations aplenty and presents here and there, and I did Christmas classes a week or two before, but to be honest I was home alone for most of the day in the apartment as my wife was at work and the non-Japanese I knew in and around town all seemed to have returned home for the holidays. The Japanese have this rather strange belief, no doubt began by some very clever marketing, that Christmas means KFC. It’s the most popular place to eat on December 25. I passed.

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Remembrance of December 2013

Remembrance of December 2013

My 2012 Christmas was actually not in Japan but in Indonesia, on Batam Island. I was at a hotel where they had a sort of Christmas lunch. There was roast meat and it was nice enough I guess. My wife and I relaxed and it was hot and humid. But, neither Christmases compare with actually being around family at Christmas time.

People may think it must be very different in Australia, having Christmas in summer, but really it’s not so much. The malls are still insanely busy, people decorate like crazy (I visited a shop the other day which just does Christmas decorations, it’s pretty awesome. It’s called ‘Christmas Kingdom’) and we have carol shows aplenty on TV.

The beach - it is cloudy, but it's still a great place to be December in Australia,

The beach – it is cloudy, but it’s still a great place to be December in Australia,

So, in Australia where the beaches are starting to get used more and more as the weather hits summer in a fully-fledged way, I will be having roast turkey with my family tomorrow. We’ll give presents and pull crackers, they’ll be cake, pudding oh yes and wine. Boxing Day (December 26th for those in the many countries that don’t have it) will see the extended family, and will see many of us following the test match from the MCG very closely indeed. It’s a real tradition here in Australia.

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Inside Christmas Kingdom

Inside Christmas Kingdom

Being back home has at times been stressful. I’ve worked very very hard in the last four months. It’s seemed a little surreal at times but with Christmas one sleep away, it’s good to be home for the first time in three years for this day.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year oh, and may the journey never end!

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