Happy 2016! ^^

LONG WORDY POST.

Saitama Super Arena
It's a brand new year. This time is quite different from the last 25 times I celebrated it, though. Now, I'm staying in Japan and I'm away from my family. I miss them dearly! There are things that make the Japanese New Year celebration such a unique event, though! So that distracted me a bit... A lot, actually!

Let's see what I did the past few days!

First off, we did o'souji (おそうじ). It's a Japanese tradition to clean the entire house before the year ends. It's comparable to what the westerners refer to as Spring Cleaning... Only it's done in winter time. Hahaha.

And then, on the 31st, I went to my first live MMA experience! It was wildly exciting. Haha. Admittedly, I was only vaguely interested in MMA before I attended the event in Saitama Super Arena but things change... :)

These sumo wrestlers came to support Baruto, one of the fighters.
My lunch on the last day of 2015!
And something delicious I never got to taste. Haha
My Rizin omikuji (おみくじ) was just つハハハッ。。。 What? After Bob Sapp's match, I understood what this was. lol
The arena was quite full! Many people came. I didn't expect the turnout to be so great!

Not too bad, eh?
Upon waking up the next day, it's 2016!!! We got home so late the night before and there was no bus so we had to walk... The first thing we did (right after breakfast, that is) is to visit a shrine. This is what the Japanese call hatsumoude (初詣).



I also got my real omikuji. Haha. It was chukichi (中吉). Middle level luck??? Haha
I also got my Cecil McBee fukubukuro (福袋). The accessory I got was not nice (it was just tights) and the shorts are not stretch so I don't want to wear it soon (read: I'm fat) but overall, I thought it was a nice bag! I really liked everything else in it! Hehehe.

What did you get in your bag??? TELL ME!

I especially adore that cardigan. It will keep me warm this winter, I'm sure. :)
The first dinner of the year was with the Excel Teachers and the Chiba family. There was so much food to eat!!!

This is my hey-I'm-not-ready-for-a-photo-yet,-I'm-eating face. (Photo from Mina's Facebook. Haha)
Dinner. A fusion of Japanese and Filipino dishes. (Photo from Mina's Facebook. Haha)
 On January 2, I went to meet Okiyama-san's family. I barely knew anyone (there were cousins, a nephew, nieces a sister and the wives and husbands of people) but they were all introduced to me (and I remember maybe 70% of their names lol). At first it was awkward (I'm awkward) but after Shina-chan invited me to play Karuta (a traditional Japanese card game), it was easier. She's so sweet. It was funny when she realized I can't speak Japanese very well. Hahaha. Luka-chan has passed Eiken 2 so she can converse in English. She also made it an easier experience for me. I seem to always get along with the younger ones quickly. Haha
Oki's father bragged that he prepared that centerpiece fish over there. He's adorable. XD
I also got my first (and hopefully not the last one, I wasn't in Japan when I was a student!!! lol) otoshidama (お年玉). :)
Everything was so delicious! They even made Hachijojima-style sushi and Oki's mom prepared no-pork food for me (because they know I don't eat pork). I also got to taste the weird sewer-smelling fish that I forgot the name of. It seriously stunk but I was told it's something traditional.
I actually have so much photos from that day but knowing they are Japanese, I opted not to post it without their permission. They are all such lovely people! (*^^*)

On January 3, that's today. We just stayed home to rest. Tomorrow, it's back to work for us!

I enjoyed the last days of 2015 and the first days of 2016 very much. I hope it sets the mood for the rest of the year. I feel so blessed that the past year turned out to be what it is but I'm ready for 2016's adventures!

See you again!

Xoxo,
Jona

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