Happenstance

One thing we are really thankful for today. Hubby could have had gone to his department’s bounenkai. But by happenstance he couldn’t. And so by happenstance, he was available to attend another party. For that particular gathering, we are truly thankful. Everything really happens for a reason.

By happenstance also, hubs saw this One Piece lip balm in Family Mart this morning. So cute!!! And even at only 500yen, the detail is very good.

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the Thursday and Friday that was

We had our bounenkai till late last night; this time, it’s our project team’s year end party cum farewell party to those who are going back to Philippines after their Yokohama assignment and for a colleague who is resigning to go back to her hometown in Okinawa. With Hubs’ permission, I also went to the second party. It’s a Japanese tradition to have second parties, and sometimes 3rd and 4th parties(!) after the main party. Hence, I wasn’t able to blog, even the shortest bit. I’m trying to make up through this short blogpost; after all, there’s lots to be thankful for.

Thursday. Thankful for the gift of voice that was given to me. And I do hope I continue to make people happy and relaxed simply by singing. If truth be told, I tremendously miss singing! And yes, one other great thing. It warms me every time our officemates and also Hubs’ peers and elders tell me how Atsushi is such a kind person. Of course I know this for a fact. But it still gives me much warmth when somebody reiterates it. 😀

Friday. It has been a terribly busy week (and an emotional one at that!), with new deliverables suddenly popping up and with tight deadlines to boot. And of course since our bounenkai was almost like a required attendance, I have to do as much as I can within 8 hours. This week’s main deliverables, the Safety Narrative and Flare Report (with Cold Depressuring yet to be done) almost seemed like an impossible feat (and I had to add a new PSV at that, this late in the project phase!). Back when it was still Monday, I looked at my to-do list and the objective part of me told me it sure is impossible to meet. But I have no other choice but to work hard and finish it, and hope. And hope. The hoping bore fruit though. My boss was very surprised. I smiled, because he doesn’t know I have a bigger BOSS up there who helped me along the way. 🙂

Gotta hit the sack! Tomorrow’s gonna be hectic! Hope we’ll see more of the sun tomorrow.

what is bounenkai, really?

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned how the bounenkai (忘年会) is the Japanese equivalent of thanksgiving party to celebrate the year that was.

I may be a bit wrong on this however. The last kanji, 会 (read as “kai”), means party. The second kanji, 年 (read as “nen”, means year. The first kanji, 忘 (read as “bou”) means forget. Hence, translation of bounenkai is really to have a party to forget the year that was.

And it comes off a bit negative, doesn’t it? Why indeed focus on the negative and forget? Why not on the positive and remember? My boss and I were talking about the nuance of bounenkai earlier, just before we ourselves were about to attend our department’s bounenkai. He said that it’s just part of the Japanese culture. And probably he meant that it’s just part of the Japanese culture to focus on the negative stuff that happened in the year and specifically make a point or an event – a party in this case – to forget about it. Sort of like officially get rid of it. After going through an anger-provoking meeting earlier in the day, I thought that if the goal of bounenkai is as we supposed, then it was just so timely.

But as I realise now, we may be wrong. The bounenkai can really be literally that: to forget the year that was. Full stop. Not just the negative but the whole year, positive or otherwise. Forget the year that was and start anew with the coming new year. If the old year has been a bad one for you, forget about it and exert tremendous effort to make the new year a great one. If the old year has been a great one for you forget about it, lest you enter the new year full of pride and be less attentive and so eventually rob yourself from the chance of working hard to make the new year another great one. And I’d say, I’d stick with this one. Yes of course we should remember and celebrate the blessings given us with the year that was. But it is imperative that we be mindful as well not to be too confident and hence let down our guard and not make good effort anymore in the coming year.

Your thoughts? 🙂

Dec 3 – something to be thankful for

Had an interesting evening. We went to Shimbashi for bounenkai (忘年会) with people who graduated from same high school as Atsushi. Interesting because attendees were of different generations and different walks of life – oldest being retirees and us being youngest, one worked in the World Health Organization and one a dentist etc etc. Thankful because Atsushi was so proud of me that he brought me with him to the gathering. We were the only husband and wife there. Thankful because they all welcomed me and thought very highly of me. And proud because they all told me how kind Atsushi is. 🙂
Thankful as well for this yummy strawberries that one woman alumni gave me and Atsushi.

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A backgrounder: Bounenkai is the Japanese equivalent of Christmas party or thanksgiving party, held usually around December with the intent of gathering round to celebrate the year that was.

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