cheers for 2012!

A few years back, I welcomed the new year in Japan with friends and colleagues. When we raised our glasses for a toast, before anyone could utter cheers and well wishes for the year, Gali enthusiastically and selflessly exclaimed “to Ate Marj’s love life!!!”. With a cheers as enthusiastic as that, even when everyone had their own wishes for the new year as well, everyone raised their glasses for the toast; a toast for my love life for the new year.

Funny. Because whaddyaknow? It was actually the year Atsushi and I started to become an item.

And so for this new year’s toast, after having had raised our prayers for the new year, I raise this imaginary toast to Gali. Gali, this is for you as my way of saying thank you.

Cheers to Gali’s love life!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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new year tradition

Being a member of a regular Philippine household, I grew up accustomed to the flurry and mad dash during Philippine new years with all its tradition and superstitions. There’s the preparations for offering 13 fruits on the family dining table, the thorough planning of what to serve during Media Noche – no dishes with chicken to avoid a hard life come new year, serving sweet and sticky dessert for great relationships, boiled eggs which equal the number of family members for unity the whole year next year, fish and seafoods and pork for prosperity, faux gold candies for prosperity, hanging of grapes on doors and windowsills for further prosperity und so weiter.

Even when I was away from home and spent the new years in Singapore and in Japan for four consecutive years, me and my friends and colleagues still try to uphold the Filipino tradition, at least by not serving chicken and by coming up with the 13 fruits although in Japan, it can be quite expensive haha.

Last year, hubs and I spent our Christmas with my family whilst we spend our first new year with a private party in Boracay watching the fireworks display in the party crazed island. This is my first time therefore to experience and really immerse with the Japanese tradition of welcoming the new year. The celebrations itself will be featured in a separate post. This here is for the preparations.

The habotan (่‘‰็‰กไธน). Cabbage looking flowers to ring in luck and prosperity.

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The kadomatsu (้–€ๆพ)which are placed in front of establishments again for luck and prosperity.

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Of course we just had to pose beside one ๐Ÿ˜€

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Mochi or Japanese rice cake (้ค…)!

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And yes, the mikan/mandarin orange is considered auspicious as well.

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These dragon charms are just so cute!!!! Though a bit expensive.

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Let’s ring in a great new year everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

in-laws

We’re staying over with Hubs’ family for the new year holidays. The past three days had been really interesting and fun that it’s just but right to have this post for them, which I know is not enough to express how thankful I am to them.

As we go drive around for a road trip, my chest swells with thankfulness. We have received a lot of blessings this 2011. But one of the biggest blessings is that Atsushi’s family warmly welcomed me as a new member of the family that leaves me with a feeling of wanting to be a better daughter-in-law because of all the good things they’ve done to me.

Ojichan, Obachan, Otosan, Okasan, Mayumi, ใ‚ใ‚ŠใŒใจใ†ใ”ใ–ใ„ใพใ—ใŸ. I’ll do my best to make your son even happier.

Will feature later on the places we’ve been to the last couple of days once I’ve downloaded the photos. Here are some teasers for now.

Free milk from Shionoe (ใ—ใŠใฎใˆ), the dairy farm we went to yesterday. Their milk jam is just so delicious!!

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A stopover at Osaki no Hana (ใŠใ•ใใฎใฏใช) in our road trip earlier for this beautiful view.

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By the loooong Seto Bridge (ใ›ใจใŠใฏใ—).

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For most part of this evening, we watched videos of when Atsushi and his sister were still kids, with Atsushi as young as four years old (gee that’s almost 28 years ago!). One thing I learned: like how he is as a grown up, hubs was definitely NOT a boring kid as we had tons of laugh with Atsushi’s antics. As Otosan has said, he sure was a comedian. ๐Ÿ˜€

on albums and baskin robbins

First day into our vacation and a long-awaited exciting package has arrived already.

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Our main album,the black one, must have weighed more than five kilos! Dino and team are just amazing. Someday soon, I’ll try to post some, especially those that looked like paintings.

Had a mall outing with my family-in-law. Dropped by Baskin and Robbins. Love Potion #31 and chocolate mint. Love.

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Yoi otoshi wo

Today was officially my last working day for the year. Hurray! Thankful for the work in general. And thankful for a very productive day at work. There were a number of design issues that surfaced within the day but thankfully they were resolved within the day as well. Happy as a bee.

Currently writing this on board a bus albeit I was only able to blog this during an interchange stop as I usually get nauseous when using a mobile device or reading on board a running vehicle. We’re now probably halfway towards our destination. Excited. ๐Ÿ™‚

“yoi otoshi wo” by the way is the expression that the Japanese say at the end of the year to greet each other a happy new year. A different expression is used when greeting each other once you’ve crossed the new year, but I’ll blog about that next time. Was giggling as I greeted my office mates earlier with this expression as it was my first time to say it.

Yoi otoshi wo! ๐Ÿ™‚

getting ready for the new year

It always comes as a surprise that the day right after Christmas, all those elaborate decorations in the malls disappear overnight; making you almost feel like Christmas had been only a dream. In place of the Christmas trees and decors though, these are slowly put on display, like mushrooms that has popped up overnight. And yes, it is for the New Year Japanese festivities.

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Spent a number of new years here in Japan (all spent on shopping because January 1 sale gives you one of the best bargains throughout the year). But this’ll be my first time to really immerse myself with the Japanese festivities. And you bet I’m excited! ๐Ÿ™‚

Two things we’re thankful for. We finally placed an order for the Laura Ashley curtains which will be sewn and delivered in four weeks. Yey! Was also able to send a box for my family. I know it’s late for christmas but the box was bigger than I’ve anticipated hence it took me quite a while to fill it up.

Tomorrow’s gonna be a mad dash in the office to issue outputs that needs to be issued before the holidays. Good luck to me! ๐Ÿ˜€

first Christmas

I’ve read that it takes 30 days of continuously doing something for it to become a habit. And thanks to Jerico’s post-a-day-counting-blessings-idea, I think I have sort of made blogging daily a habit, even during very busy days (although really there’s the mobile blogging that really made things easier. Otherwise, it would have been really tough). To those who have had read my posts, a lot of my count-thy-blessings posts have a lot to do with my husband. But really, who can blame me? ๐Ÿ™‚

This evening though, I couldn’t help but cry from happiness and thankfulness, and at an auditorium at that. We attended the yearly mixed Japanese/English (with Spanish and Korean and Filipino languages for the prayers of the faithful) mass held at the auditorium of a Japanese Catholic school in Yamate. Come Communion, those who weren’t baptized yet were of course not allowed to receive the Holy Communion. They are however encouraged to queue and bow their heads to accept the blessings from the priest. Atsushi queued after me. But I wasn’t at all prepared as to the emotions that washed over me when I saw him solemnly bow his head as the priest put his hand over Atsushi’s head and prayed for him. Even now, I feel emotional. Thankful that I married a man who was not only admirable for a lot of reasons, some of which were mentioned from previous blogs. Thankful because he also respects my faith and my religion. His arms around me as we sang the last few carols before the mass ended, it was to my memory one of the happiest Christmas I’ve ever had. This ain’t technically our first christmas together but as husband and wife after the Church wedding and in our new home at that, it was our first. And I must say, it was a great one.

I was craving for hot chocolate but most of the coffee shops we passed by after church were already closed. And then we passed by Union. Bought champagne and some cheese and nuts/seeds to go with it instead. This then composed our Noche Buena.ย Funny because it wasn’t until today when the need has arisen that we remembered the purchase we made from Celetnรก Crystal in Prague back in September – delicate lavender champagne flutes.

Earlier, before going to mass, we passed by a show entitled “The Holy Gospel Night Show”. This made me smile. Because it’s another proof that Christmas in Japan is not just about commerce.

Having had started the night with good music, it’s just fitting I think to cap the night with good music as well. Atsushi’s Christmas cover of Kagemaru. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Happy Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚

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