• 05 . 12 . 05
  • I just got back from a Bounenkai (literally, an “end of year party”) held for some of the teachers living in Gifu, which was lots of fun. It was nice to unwind after worrying about a test (which I swore I wouldn’t worry about) and not have to think that I should be studying. Most […]

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Bounenkai

I just got back from a Bounenkai (literally, an “end of year party”) held for some of the teachers living in Gifu, which was lots of fun. It was nice to unwind after worrying about a test (which I swore I wouldn’t worry about) and not have to think that I should be studying. Most Japanese people typically go to three or four of these at the end of the year, depending on how many jobs they do, or clubs they are associated with. The basic premise, as you might imagine, is to sit down with your colleagues and get nice and drunk. Not that there’s anything special about that here though…

Although the beer went down nicely, the best part was undoubtedly the present-swapping which was done in a very communal way. Everybody had been instructed to buy a present for about ¥2000 and bring it along. When the time came, we all got in a circle and began passing the presents around while singing Jingle Bells. When the song was done, we opened up to see what we got. I got a microwaveably-heated duck-shaped pillow and a dog-shaped eye pillow, which sound strange but are actually awesome. Since moving house, I haven’t got round to buying a heater (or curtains) and double glazed windows are something of a rarity; I’m not sure I’ve seen any, actually. As a result, my apartment is usually the same temperature as outside. The Japanese winter is also much colder than England’s, something which I didn’t notice when I had an air-heater that was always on last year. Hopefully, these presents might go some way to stop my sheets from feeling like ice. For my part, I donated a crystal growing kit, which somebody ended up with and seemed to like. I was tempted to get a Super Mario toy instead, but thought that would be pandering to stereotypes a little too much.

Finally, I found out that everything’s been arranged for Hakuba this New Year! Four of us are going up there after we finish work for the year and staying for about a week, which hopefully will give us plenty of opportunities to ride, as well as soaking in the onsens again. If it’s like last year, but without as much pain, we should have a great time.