Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas in Sapporo

I’m still surprised by how much Japan decorates for Christmas despite not really celebrating it at all on Christmas Day… Here in Japan Christmas is a holiday meant more for romantic couples than for families or baby Jesus. It's also a time to eat expensive but cute Christmas cakes and Kentucky Fried Chicken. (see last year's post on our KFC xmas)

This year we went to see the huge x-mas tree in Sapporo Factory which they light up and animate each year. They also had live music and various performers...

Also every year is the Sapporo Illumination which takes place along Odori Park. They light up Christmas trees and make wired lit up decorations in various shapes and designs which stretch for blocks. My favorite was in the middle of one of the blocks they had this woman in fur in a heated bubble playing a crazy moog synthesizer… she was rockin out to MJ tunes.

Near the TV tower in Odori park they also have the German Xmas market which has more singing, dancing, music, german and Russian shops, roasted almonds, and heaps and heaps of sausages for sale!

Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle down in Texas we had a mini Christmas party at home… I put out my mini tree and we ate and devoured all of the snacks they wrapped up.

I also bought ingredients so Ikuya can make his first gingerbread house!!! Being an architect, I’m sure it will look way better than any of the ones I slapped together in the past ;-)

Probably my favorite Christmas spotting this year was the big wooden tanuki in Tanuki Koji Shopping arcade… Tanuki is a big raccoon dog with huge testicles which you rub for good luck. This year tanuki got all dolled up and covered himself with Christmas lights and donned a Santa hat and beard… KAWAII!!!!!

His sidekick was even dressed up as a reindeer with fancy bells and garland. Hahahaha…

A bit down from tanuki were festive school girls jumping and dancing with stuffed animals in short skirts in the middle of the freezing cold. I guess… why not.

At school we also had a crazy Xmas party... I love my students because they join me in dressing up, dancing, singing and much much more!!!

I wish I could upload my videos of the santa balloon stuffing relay race.... amazzzzzzzzzing!

The holiday season also brought many friends together for good ole merry making ;-)

One of the English teachers in Sapporo also threw a Christmas "kira kira" party where you could get all lighted and sparkled up in the spirit of Christmas ;-)

At another party we had a Xmas costume/cake/chicken/secret santa gift exchange... ho ho ho!

The holidays are a time for friends, family and lots of lovin!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I'll catch ya in 2010!

xoxo Callie

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Arashi concert visit

Ikuya’s mom, Aunt and cousin made a road trip from Tokachi to Sapporo. His cousin was soooo excited because she had back to back tickets for Arashi… probably the most popular Japanese boy pop bands!

At Japanese pop concerts merchandise is a must for the youngins…. His cousin came home with armloads of posters and fans of each of the boy members…. Ikuya tried to blend in.

His cousin even hand made her clothes for the concert!!! She made a sequinced kira kira jacket which her favorite member wore at one of their first concerts.

Each of the members of Arashi has a corresponding bright color.... so all weekend in Sapporo you could see groups of girls decked out from head to toe in their favorite boy's color!!!

Ikuya and I cooked up a huge breakfast feast in the morning… and we spent the day walking around Sapporo and took his mom to COSTCO for the first time while his cousin and Aunt went for round 2 of Arashi. I absolutely love taking Japanese people to COSTCO for their first time. Seeing their dropped jaws and wide eyes are priceless!

Nabe Party... one way to stay warm!!!

With winter fast approaching here in Hokkaido… the locals like to stay warm by breaking out the nabe dishes!!!!

A few friends and I decided to try and keep warm by throwing our own nabe party…..

For those of you who don’t know nabe it is a DELICIOUS concoction of veggies, tofu, noodles, mochi, spices or sauces and meat or seafood. You cook it all at the table while continuously adding various ingredients and changing up the pot…. It’s probably one of my favorite Japanese foods! Mmm….

Steph even broke out her homemade ume-shu which she had made last summer… yummm….

Homemade dessert by the girls.......

Sapporo Design Week

Even though I left my career as a Designer… it’s nice to every once in awhile check out what other designers and artists are doing. During the Sapporo Design Week, Ikuya and I went to a few exhibitions and galleries...

Here are some photos from the Sapporo Citizen Art Gallery…. A few months ago someone asked me to pose for a painting… but little did I know that it was later going to be shown during the Sapporo Design Week! ;-0

He gave me free tickets to the gallery, but when I asked Ikuya to join me, I didn’t tell him I would actually appear in one of the paintings... so he was shocked when turning the corner only to find a huge life sized painting entitled “Callie.” Hahaha…

My favorite sculpture was this one of a middle aged man giving a granny a piggy back ride.

Not too sure what this designer was thinking when he made this sign for the art gallery...


Monday, December 14, 2009

The new holiday drink in Hokkaido...

This is the newest drink I've found in Hokkaido... LOVE MODE GINGER.... its a pink sparkly diamond studded design with a sexy zip up the side... now who WOULDN'T want to buy this zero cal ginger ale??? The Japanese sure do know how to market their products, eh?

There's also a red bean paste Pepsi out for sale... mmm...

Her and baby's loo....


everything is cho cute in japan.... even the toilets!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

80's Winter Ball

When 300 English teachers from around Hokkaido gathered together in Sapporo for the annual ALT conference last week... we couldn't stop ourselves from throwing an 80's Winter Ball!!!!!!!

I was in heaven with the neon colors, lace, scrunchies, denim, crimpers, David Bowie appearance, and amazing 80's tunes and 3 hours of non-stop dancing!!!

I don't think it's an accident I was born in 1980!!! yeeee haw.

(thanks to ross... sir pekoism for some of the shots!)

There was also a silent art auction where HEC (Hokkaido English Camp) raised over $700!!! whoo hoooo! go HEC!

Turkey Day in Japan

It's hard being away from family and friends on the holidays... but luckily a big group of English teachers in Sapporo got together for a big home cooked turkey dinner... turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and MORE.... yummm....

check out my friend crystal's blog for pics!