Well last week was an interesting week. It was New Years, obviously, which is one of the major holidays in Japan. My host brother got the whole week off from work, which meant limited internet access for me since the only connection is in his room. The week began with extensive cleaning of the house. Then on Tuesday, Chris' Pizza, the only place in Nagasaki to get some real American food, was having it's last ever day open (RIP). I opted to go to my French buddy's birthday party instead, though. Got to try goose liver sausage. We then went to a nearby bar and sat on the tatami floor and hung out for awhile. Some of the people there were glued to the TV, watching the annual New Year's singing competition. I had a nice big bowl of kimchi rice, which is a Korean dish. Shortly after midnight, the bar owner/chef treated us to a free bowl of soba noodles, which is traditionally eaten on New Year's. We then went to another bar for awhile, and then went karaoke for three hours. I topped that off with an early breakfast from a 24 hour McDonald's, and I made it home and in bed by 8am. It was a blast.
The day after New Year's, my host mother's daughter came by and helped her make a very elaborate dinner. The rest of her kids, their spouses, and their kids came by for dinner. My host mother's daughter's husband plays drums in a band composed of people from his workplace. They like to play Deep Purple and Red Hot Chili Peppers :) My host family went to the shrine in the afternoon, and the onsen late in the evening. Many Japanese go to the shrine shortly after midnight on New Year's morning to offer their prayers for the new year and receive a fortune, followed by a period of heavily enebriated karaoke. The fact that my friends and I got into karaoke at that time is notable.
The week ended with me virtually rewriting my entire 20 page independent study paper on Japanese metal because I wasn't satisfied with how it turned out. I finally finished it yesterday, so now I can start on my 10 page society research paper which is due in a couple weeks. My soc. paper will be on ijime, which is "bullying."