Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Japan!

First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! We had a very eventful week leading up to an awesome Christmas. There was supposed to be a blizzard, but it looks like the weather held out. The crazy snow should start sometime tonight! We took lots of pictures and some videos that I'm sure will tell our experiences this week better than I could. To fit everything in one sentence, Emily took the GRE, we spent a day in Tokyo Disneyland, went to the Tokyo Temple, went to a neighborhood Christmas party, had our own Branch Christmas party, went to a baptism, and opened lots of fun presents on Christmas day.

This is the building in Tokyo that Emily took the GRE at. She was up on the 15th floor . I am just glad that there wasn't any major earthquake.
For some reason, Japanese people think of fried chicken during Christmas time and KFC is  where they go to get it.  Colonel Sanders stands at the front of most KFC's here in Japan and is often wearing the Santa suit during this festive time of year to remind people to get their fried chicken.
This is what "Main Street" in Tokyo Disneyland looks like during the Christmas season!
There were tons of decorations everywhere, but I thought that  among them, Goofy's house in ToonTown looked especially awesome.

Us in front of Cinderella's castle. I think it's Cinderella's at least...

Every time we go to Disneyland, we get a certain number of "cultural treats." We had stayed with Diliana and Chihiro, some friends from BYU-Hawaii, the night before and Diliana told us we had to get the turkey leg. I have to say that the turkey was moist and yummy and would suggest it to anyone who likes meat!

We spent all day in Disneyland and we were so blessed to have great weather. It wasn't what I would call warm, but there was no snow and a whole lot warmer than Aizu!
The picture is a little dark, but we had some pretty fun decorations at our Branch Christmas party. We had to get special permission to have decorations in the cultural hall type area, because it doubles up as the chapel. We spent all morning cooking and decorating the room with all sorts of things.

Last week we talked about how much fun we had going to Costco. We had bought a bunch of stuff for this Christmas party including Christmas plates, napkins, and cups. The Church members wanted to wash everything and save them for next year. I told them to just throw stuff away because it wasn't that expensive. I was asked to plan the whole Christmas party event maybe 2 months ago and of course that meant that Emily and I were going to be planning it together. I also told the Branch that this year was going to be different, that the Branch Presidency would take care of the meat. In the end, Emily ended up making a type of shoyu chicken that we put over rice. It was really yummy, but after eating it before the party when we were testing recipes, eating it at the party, and then taking home left overs, we were pretty much done with shoyu chicken for a while. All the other members brought desserts, salads, soups, and of course sushi.

We invited a group to come and do a little puppet like show. They had come the past 3 years for our Branch Christmas party so I just thought that they would be doing a Christmas puppet show. However, it was a bunch of random stories. It was really funny and they were awesome even though it didn't exactly fit the whole Christmas theme.
The group also had some sing/dance along time. It was pretty funny.
 This is Hiroyuki Haga, the husband of the Relief Society President. I knew him when I served my mission and asked him if he would play a couple songs on the sax. The kids loved it!
We asked the Primary to act out the Nativity and it was so cute! They did such a great job! It is kind of hard to tell in this picture, but they asked the missionaries to dress up and be the wise men (they are the ones with their backs to the camera kneeling down). In the back is Sister Kuwahara, the Primary President, holding a stick with a star attached to the end. Just before taking this picture, the star was being run all over the stage with the wise men trying to follow it to find the Christ child.

Emily pretty much did everything for the party including cooking the meat, making some of the decorations, and played the piano during the activity. We sang Christmas songs in between the kids' acting.
Here is Joseph, Mary, and 2 of the shepherds with their canes. 

We also had Santa time... Unfortunately, Santa got sick the day before and couldn't make it. We had to make due with Santa's friend "Santa." In this video, Santa is asking Yuho (she was the angel in the Nativity) what she wants for Christmas. When she told him some kind of game, he told her to get it from her parents... lol. It was a lot of fun!
This is our cute little Christmas tree Christmas morning. We had fun opening up some packages and presents. Most of our presents revolved around clothing items to help keep us warm for the rest of the winter and various games to have fun with!

This was our Christmas breakfast feast. We cooked hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, bacon, and corn fritters. Super yummy!

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