26 December 2006

So This is Christmas

Snapped outside Meguro Station on Friday night whilst waiting for a friend. He/she/it/phallic thingy wasn't handing anything out - no flyers, magazines, or political campaign leaflets to be seen - but was just standing there waving and posing for photographs. Well, I think I was the only loser taking pics, but what the hey, I'm a time traveller. And a superhero.
This was my second Christmas in Japan. Most of my friends have gone back to their respective countries for the silly season, so I was swinging solo. Last year, I felt pressure that I had to do something to mark a day that essentially holds no value for me. This year, I didn't feel the pressure to make it into something that doesn't exist for me. The fact that I worked yesterday and today made ignoring the whole thing easy.

We break for a week starting Friday. The New Year period is very important in Japan and is viewed as being an auspicious time. Typically, it is filled with tradition and ceremony, all deeply nuanced, and I have no hope of understanding much of it. I have, however, managed to grasp some basics that don't bode well for GG's 2007.

One is that you don't carry over debts or tasks from the old year to the new year. Feck - I'm doomed. I'm always doomed financially, so there's no digging out of that hole by next Sunday. And the tasks? How many projects did I start this year and not finish? More than you can poke the proverbial stick at. Let's see, I started: a screenplay, learning Japanese, and continued my Italian; started learning html to build websites, how to build a computer, how to install Linux for a dual boot system... And they're just to name a few in a long list. Didn't quite manage to master/complete/build/begin to speak any of them. Ha.

These unfinished tasks may well be a shroud over my karmic energy for the upcoming Year of the Boar (bore?), but I'm happy to wear it if it would get me out of the next accursed tradition:
Total spring clean of your house - in winter.

Apparently I am supposed to clean the house even more rigorously than usual -- which means I'll need to actually clean it, period. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better than a house purified of its physical and metaphysical blemishes. I just don't want to be the one who has to freakin' do it. Stupid cleaning.

There was also something about making decorations, but I'm no Martha Stewart. I'll chuck a basket of pine cones by the front door, cross my fingers, click my heels together three times, and hope for the best. Wish me luck.

And what have you done?


  1. Glad you enjoyed christmas in your own way!!!

    I did a clean yesterday for the new year...Shun tried to tell me it is too early. What? Too early to clean your house? That is crazy...I told him I am not doing it again before the new year but he can if he wants too.

    I am not making decorations either but I will go to Shun`s house from Friday or Saturday for a couple of days, and if I have to make decorations there then I will. Maybe.

    Happy new year!!

  2. Well.. nice to stumble along this lil'ol Blog. Merry Crimbo.

    What's all this about cleaning?! Ah, fair play. I'll be putting in enough elbow to justify the lack of efforts in Spring. No spring clean in Japan. Seems really odd to do you years cleaning at one of the coldest months of the year. Perhaps it's a form of Buddhist enlightenment practice. I've managed to master Zen in the home by taking everything off the floor, putting into boxes and there you have it; Zen. Will be a bit hard this year: Erm.. Where's that SUSE 10 disk 3? Hmm
    Merry Christmas.. Happy New Year and Fwallop! Sorry, You get that way living in Ogaki... (where's that, Right?) . . toddles

  3. Happy New Year, GG! I guess I'm also doomed as I have my own load to carry over into the new year. BUT, I did clean my apt., although that was last week, so maybe I cleaned too early, too. It was the only time I had to do it before the New Year, so I'll have to take my chances. As for decorations, I have no clue about those since this is actually my first New Year in Japan. I've always gone home to the U.S. for the holidays! I wish you (and me!) tons of luck in 2007! AT

  4. Hey GG! Glad to read you are well, happy and still alive! Been checking in but not a lot of writing going on I see!!!
    As for my new years plans... not much... Just hanging out in Tokes, but will stop by the temple to get exorcised again for next year. Tradition says that a 33 yr old woman must get exorsized before Feb 3 or the coming year will find her up the creek without a ... so I am trecking off to the temple. Other than that no major plans, so if you want to get together gimme a call or drop me a mail girl!

  5. lulu - your christmas sounded lovely. great that you and shun finally had one in the same country! man, you're well on top of this cleaning caper. it's the bane of my existence. i need a maid. to clean my one room - i cannot begin to tell you how much i hate cleaning.

    have a good time at shun's parents place. happy new year to you too.

    t-mac - yay, how cool to see a new face around these parts. cheers for swinging by.
    i don't know much about it, but i read the cleaning frenzy is called susuharai, or soot-sweeping and it's a shinto thing to purify the home. i reckon i probably need to get my place fumigated, but i'll settle for a quick sweep of the floor. if someone else will do it.

    was that a photo of your place? i'm impressed and i see i have some competition for the messiest house.

    i only heard crimbo for the first time yesterday. funny that you've said it to.

    at - happy new year, at! welcome to the doom that will be 2007. as with lulu, i'm impressed you have cleaned already, especially as you're in a new apartment and it couldn't have been very dirty to start with. i would have let it ride.
    there are decorations galore around the supermarkets and heaps of little stalls set up selling all kinds of stuff, so you can probably decorate to your hearts content. making your own is so last century.

    best wishes to you, at.

    nooh - i know, i've been so slack on the blog front. things just don't strike me as being as funny or strange as they used to - oh my god, i'm assimilating!
    didn't you do the exorcism last year? or was that for your birthday when you turned 33? this place really does it for a girl's confidence, don't it? good luck with the exorcism (and never thought i'd be writing that down).

    would love to catch up as i haven't seen you in forever. i want to live vicariously through your gorgeous romance - i want to hear all about it. i'll send you a mail.

  6. Yikes!
    Osoji, the big Japanese New Year house cleaning.
    So close in the dictionary to osore (horror; dread) …
    Good luck. And here's to the year of the boar.

  7. hi dive - yup the horror and dread were so big that i decided to ignore the cleaning all together. my powers of denial are great indeed.

    happy new year to you.