That's "Merry Christmas" in Japanese. We hope you had a happy holiday. This Christmas was a bit different for us, as it was the first time we have spent Christmas without either of our families since we have been married.
On Christmas Eve, we had seven friends come to our house for a holiday dinner. I roasted my first leg of lamb, which turned out absolutely delectable, if I do say so myself. We had a mountain of other food as well, from green bean casserole to pumpkin pie. A true feast. After stuffing ourselves to bursting, we played games, chatted, and watched movies into the evening. A good time was had by all, and being busy with dinner preparations kept me from feeling too lonely and homesick.
Christmas Day being a Sunday, we went to church in the morning. We were privileged to witness the baptism of Chihiro, a young woman who has been studying the Bible for some time now, after the morning service. After church, we had a potluck, followed by a gift exchange. Then, Rusty and I took the train to central Hitachi to do some gift shopping for each other and to see the Christmas lights.
We still have not opened our presents yet, mostly because, with all of the craziness of the last few weeks, neither of us have had time to shop for each other. The pile of gifts under the tree is steadily growing, though, thanks to the packages that keep arriving from home. I guess we will be having "Christmas week," in honor of Rusty's mom, who invariably forgets to wrap and put out presents that she buys months before Christmas and stashes away under her bed. Love ya, Mama Mary!
In the words of one of my favorite Christmas poems, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"