Sunday, December 25, 2011

Waiting for the dust to settle and the quilting to begin

December 22nd

While the rest of the world prepared for the holidays, My Cub Scouts took advantage of the school break to visit the ANA repair facility at Haneda airport. We may have a few future engineers in the group or perhaps a pilot or two.

The hardest part was, "Don't run", "Don't touch",
and "Keep in line".

December 23, the Emperor's birthday, we celebrate with the Japanese Scout Association by pounding mochi.

The Japanese Scouts prepared an introduction in English.

After the official opening ceremony, the SAJ Beaver Cubs showed the BSA Cubs how the rice is made into mochi, giving the names of all the things used.

Our Boys were allowed to pound the rice as much as they liked. The leader on the right turns the rice between pounds so it will come out in a smooth even paste-like lump.

The first boy to pound is already seen on the left eating the mochi smothered in bean jam.

Even this old leader got to take a few whacks. There is a variety of sizes and weights of mallets but this one was very heavy.

Some of the cubs, after trying the light ones, came back and asked to pound again with the heaviest ones. Perhaps I should have asked too try the kid version.

With the evening , came daughter #3 and her able-bodied assistant, ready to put up "the tree".

All the stuff for assorted holidays lives in a tiny cupboard under the eaves next to my sleeping mat. This cupboard has two doors that lift out because they are made to fit a strangely shaped opening. The mat is rolled up and the needed items are extracted. The most difficult part is getting those doors back in place at the end. (shortest time is probably 20 minutes so we had better get everything we need out and the boxes back in before we mess with putting that door back in place)

The assistant followed me around the tree while we put on the lights. Then each little trinket came out, was admired or commented on and hung.

One more box and we will be done.

There! Done!

Nikko is checking to make sure nothing has fallen to the floor.

December 24th.

Our church is located on Omotesando, in Harajuku. This road leads to the entrance to the Meiji Shrine and is one of the fanciest shopping areas in Tokyo.

(Our building has Louis Vuitton on one side and Armani on the other)

The Zelkova trees line both sides of the streets and during the holidays are lit each evening, bringing out hoards of shoppers and sight-seers.

It was just getting dark as I arrived for choir and the streets between the station and church were crammed with young couples and families. Everyone was trying to get pictures with the lights in the background.

After singing two services, the trees were still bright against the darkened sky.

Though I had hoped to hurry home by train, the ticket machine ate the last of my money. I wasted time at the ticket office trying to get it back, but, in the end, I had to walk to the connecting train (about 45 minutes away).

By the time I could stumble up to bed, it was well into December 25th and not a great deal had been accomplished.

A worship service involving the choir right in the middle of Christmas day (plus an hour travel each way) meant a lot of rush, rush, rush. Getting a turkey into the oven in a timely fashion was impossible. Trying to jockey pies and potatoes and other stuff around the turkey was a challenge. Counter space is a piece of plywood over the sink. (Washing up done in installments)

Someone may have taken photos of food and family. I never got near a camera the whole day. Before going to bed, the remains of the turkey had to be dealt with and dishes washed and put away. It was well after midnight when I could turn in.... and today, as every Monday, we had to get up at 3:30 am for onigiri delivery to the homeless.

Now the turkey bones are simmering on the stove and we will begin to enjoy the best part, Peace and quiet and leftovers.... and maybe just a wee bit of quilting.


  1. I was wondering what you had been up to - it all sounds exhausting. Very pretty tree, how lovely to have help to put it up! Glad you are now able to have some relaxation time.

  2. Kawaiiii! The Cub Scouts are just SO kawaii! The lights are SO beautiful, doumo for sharing ... makes me miss my mother, but not in a sad way. :) *HUGS*

  3. Koki is so attentive to the turkey bits! We are at the end of Christmas day here. The house is full and busy and I need an area of recluse. So I am looking at blogs while everyone else plays cards.

  4. It sounds like you got a LOT done. I know those boy scouts appreciate all your time and attention. The tree turned out beautifully and I'll bet the dinner was a huge success. Sounds like an exhausting but productive day. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

  5. I hope you can now enjoy some peace and quiet and relaxation, how stressful your Christmas sounded but I love the pictures of those fairy-lit trees, very pretty. Take care my friend.

  6. good grief!! You seem to have been going FULL steam!! Hope there is a chance for a rest now xx

  7. The beautiful lights of Omotesando...and the mochi making and preparing for the New Year...just seeing the bicycle in the one photo brings back wonderful memories of Japan.

    Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

  8. Hi Julie, I'm sorry I haven't been blog visiting lately. Like you, things are wild around Christmas (but I do not get up at 3:30 in the morning.)

    As one of the three yakuin at our church I was out shopping and planning and leading worship (I dislike that job. Forgive me Lord.) and buying presents etc. Yes, it is nice when all the jobs have been completed. I want to go do some quilting too today!

  9. Goodness! It sounds like you need to spend the rest of the year quilting and relaxing. Your tree looks lovely. I'm glad you found time to put it up and celebrate.
    I love the evening shots. Well done!
    Merry Christmas!

  10. Julie,
    thank you for sharing your lovely christmas with us. I love the lights on the trees and your Christmas tree looks great. You had a long day!!!!!
    We went to mass on Christmas Eve night and brought my Dad. Afterwards we all got into our pyjamas and we do a secret santa small gift between us (including the dog and cat) and we are allowed open these before we go to bed so that Santa can visit. That is my favourite part of Christmas as it is the quietest in the house.

  11. At Thanksgiving you would have seen be doing the very same thing with my turkey. :) But for Christmas I refused to do it again - since only one of our children (and family) were going to be here we decided to go completely nontraditional and grill steaks. We couldn't have afforded it if they all came - good grief beef is high right now! They day after when another of the children (and family) came we cooked both chili and corn/potato chowder. When everyone left yesterday, including hubby to the deer camp, I made them take every scrap of food that was left. I've eaten so much that I'm sure I won't want to eat again until Valentine's Day. Well, maybe a bit before then. :) I have three days alone now and what wonderful quiet after the chaos of children, dogs, tossed aside wrapping paper, etc. I have to get out for a couple of things tomorrow but for today I'm going to hide in my house and sew! blessings, marlene

  12. I do agree with you about the peace and quiet following Christmas, all the more enjoyable because of the preceeding hectic period. The fridge is full of ready to eat food too which is good. I too admired the boy scouts and what a sweet little helper you had - Mary, Quayquilter

  13. Whew! I am exhausted just reading this post!
    Those lights in the Zelkova trees are beautiful. I can see why everyone wants pictures taken there... beautiful!

    Love the pic of you with your "assistant." It's usually the critters who sit nicely for a photo, and not our little ones. A lovely photo!

    May the rest of your 2011 be filled with peace and quiet and yes, even leftovers... and a bit of quilting.
    Looking forward to 2012.

    All my best,

  14. Love all the pictures, the writings on it, the lights on the streets! Everything is so beautiful!!! The dog is singing :drop drop on my mouth, little turkey from the table!! big hug Julie! Love sandra xx

  15. What a busy Christmas you had with many many things to do. The pictures of all the lights are beautiful, giving a feeling of peace even though you were rushing around from one end of the city to another. I hope all the choir singing went well, the gifts were all enjoyed and it sounds like, the the last bit, that all the food was enjoyed as well.

    Merry Christmas!
    Elizabeth E.

  16. Mom, I have some catching up to do on your blog I see. Lovely to be reminded of the Zelkova trees on Omotesando. I look for them as I drive around Portland -- they are all over the parking lot at Washington Park, and they seem to be getting more popular as a street tree. love and hugs, Julie