Friday, February 10, 2017

How'd ya like to spend the holiday away across the sea?

Christmas 2016 was the first Christmas that Blake and I spent just the two of us. For our four previous Christmases, we'd hopscotched from one family to the other and we enjoyed it, but long before we knew we'd spend it in Japan, we decided it was time to spend Christmas in our own home. We knew we'd be moving in the fall, so no matter where we ended up, we would have just moved and didn't want to have a big trek planned anywhere only a few weeks later.

So spend it at home we did!

Fortunately, our household goods arrived just after Thanksgiving, which gave us time to set up our new home and even decorate for the holiday! It also helped with the getting settled in as we made this new place truly ours.
That biggest box is actually one of our moving boxes that has been upgraded to tree stand! The 3 foot tree that was perfect in my hobbit hole as a singleton was a little small for our giant apartment, but this actually worked out perfectly!

Our new front door! Completely decorated with things purchased or crafted here in Japan!

Without familial expectations and days lost to travel, we really got to start focusing on what traditions we want to have for just us. We've had a pretty good negotiation so far, though I think we will have to alternate whose breakfast tradition we use each year. I do love his family's breakfast casserole, but I also love my family's big huge all the breakfast foods breakfast. So, we still need to figure that one out.

One tradition we accidentally picked up and have now made official is seeing Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. As we looked back, we realized that we have now done just that most every Christmas, whether in Utah or Arizona, and now we have added Japan! Incidentally, they have also been Christmas lights at temples, and 2016 was no exception, just at the temple of a different faith! Oh, and they are called Winter Illuminations here and some can even be seen into March.

So, on Christmas Eve, we headed out to Enoshima Island, which is on Sagami Bay just west of us and connected to the mainland via a footbridge.

The train station we got off at! Not all train stations are this picturesque, but this one was!

Approaching Enoshima


This Hello Kitty cafe had just opened the day before. We're planning on taking Blake's sister here.

There are actually five main shrines and temples on Enoshima and they are all beautiful.

Dr. Fish pedicure - Blake did it too! I loved it. Blake didn't hate it, but he did think it was weird.

Washing station before entering a shrine - come visit and I'll show you how to do it!

Black vanilla for Blake, chestnut for me (seemed like a good Christmas flavor)

There is one main stretch of road off the island. It took us at least 20 minutes to work our way down. This was approximately half way.

We topped off the evening with the traditional Christmas Eve pizza, a tradition from Blake's family that I've happily accepted and even introduced to mine. Instead of the pizza place on base, we tried the Domino's off-base. The best deals are found by doing online ordering and carry out, so even though we got it home on the train, it was still warm and pretty tasty. We didn't try anything too crazy, this time.

Christmas Day was a Sunday, so we enjoyed an hour of church in between present opening and video chats. I think we talked to each of our families at least twice. I also did most of my Santa tracking on this day, since we were visited a lot earlier than the rest of the world.
Christmas morning Pepsi is traditional for Blake, but we made sure it was a Japanese Pepsi for him and I opted for a Japanese Coca-Cola with the bow!

We live here now! I recognize this view!

I recognize this view too!

We may be with our families for future Christmas holidays, but for now it was nice to really be home for Christmas.


Giggles said...

Starting your own Christmas is so important.

I love the winter illumination with the tulips. That's beautiful!

I think my feet could use a fish pedicure actually. I'm really curious about that.

AmandaStretch said...

I would love to take you to a fish pedicure!

Giggles said...

Right now I'd settle for any kind of pedicure, fish or otherwise. It's been far too long since I've had any pampering.

AmandaStretch said...

Do I need to have a little Christmas wish chat with Brett for you?

Giggles said...

The trouble is scheduling it since I have a little man who has to be with me constantly. I get out for a run two evenings a week and Izri spends the whole time screaming at Brett unless he's holding him. But then he's content to just play on the bathroom floor while I'm showering, so it's not exactly that he needs to be held.

AmandaStretch said...

Not sure if this improved in the last month or not, but I hope so. If not, I wish I could hold him near you during a pedicure, if that would work. Hopefully he's less demanding of your attention soon!