It's Not Beginning to Look Like Christmas at All

Well, I'm officially in a Christmas mood.

This entire month I teach about Christmas to every kid in town from kindergarten to 6th grade.

I had my first lesson today with the 3rd graders at 東小学校 (Higashi Shougakko, East Elementary School). It pretty much entailed trying to talk over a bunch of rambunctious kids who knew sadly little about Christmas. They were, however, entirely impressed by the pictures of Santa from around the world that I brought in and finally quieted down when I gave them some pictures to color and put on the Rat Pack Christmas album -- music as necessary as ham on Christmas.

Frank and Dino lulled away the kids' A.D.H.D. and gave me my first "Christmas is coming!" feeling.  When I was in London (the only time I've been away from the States during Xmas), there were at least lights and signs of the season everywhere.  Plus, I could secretly pretend to be part of some Dickensian novel, cover myself in soot; walk with a limp; and mumble "God bless us, EVERY ONE!"  In Japan, however, there aren't any visible signs of Christmas [yet?], save for a big tree outside the Mikimoto pearl store in Ginza.  In the states, trees and wreathes start popping up right after Halloween to prevent any lapse between consumerist holidays.  (Go Capitalism!)  So I'm gonna have to try to get in that holiday spirit anyway. And although this Christmas I'll be speeding up the Mekong in a Communist country, I can't wait for it to come.


That said, I totally didn't realize it was Thanksgiving this week until I saw someone's facebook album. I could use some of Mr. Aguilar's black beans and turkey right now. I'm gonna miss Christmas dinner at the Aguilar's too. Ugh. There is no solution for my Chileño/Cubano holiday cravings here.

It's strange the things that remind you you're in a foreign place.  I'm totally comfortable -- loving it, even -- on a day-to-day basis, but I feel totally jipped out of Thanksgiving now.  And when third graders haven't heard jingle bells before, they ought to be held back a grade.