Sunday, December 11, 2005

It's Official...

Muroran has been dumped on.

Strictly weather-wise, of course.

I woke up to a landscape of white today. White and quiet. At least the winds calmed down.

Makes me glad that I went to Showa Shinzan yesterday instead of waiting until today. No way I would go out on these roads today.

Except that I'm going to a friend's house later. And probably off to swim after that.

I mentioned spreading holiday cheer yesterday. Let me clarify.

I was Santa today. Starfish High has a kindergarten connected with the school, and I teach a couple of classes there on Tuesdays. The teachers over there asked me to be Santa for their Christmas assembly today, and I agreed.

After six years in Japan, I've gotten a lot of practice at playing the jolly old elf. Anytime a day care or kindergarten needs a Santa, the local foreigner (clarification: white guy) usually gets called upon to step up and be ol' St. Nick. Being in places where one is the only white guy around equals a lot of Santa requests. I get a kick out of playing Santa, so unless I have something going on in my schedule, I always accept.

So today, I woke up, did some laundry, got ready, and headed over to Starfish High.

Man, the snow was coming down.

Man, the school's parking lot was full.

Man, I had to park a long way from the school (not really, but I was trying to establish a pattern back there, plus with all the snow, it felt like a long way).

I snuck in to the auditorium where the assembly was being held, and went up in to the control booth to get changed.

The assembly was pretty interesting. Since the kindergarten is Catholic, too, they were keeping with the true spirit of Christmas, although their Christmas play started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

I didn't get it, either.

They connected the Adam and Eve stuff to the Nativity by explaining that because Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden and would eventually die.

"But God wanted to forgive them and give them a chance to be with Him again. That chance came 2000 years ago in Bethlehem..."

Whoa. Nice segue. I was impressed.

I think I should state here that kindergarteners are UNBELIEVABLY CUTE.

It's unreal.

You could tell that they worked really hard to remember their lines. In fact, they worked so hard that every line had the same rhythm and monotonous delivery. Cute, though.

After the play and a couple of other performances, all the kids lined up on stage to sing "Awatenbo no Santa Claus", which translated means "Busy Busy Santa Claus"...or something like that. They went through it once, and then...

Jingle. Jingle. Jingle. (That's me, ringing some sleigh bells.)

"HO! HO! HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

I come down from the control booth in full Santa regalia, complete with the bag of presents slung over my shoulder. I walk on down to the stage, saying various Santa-like things and trying to put out my "spirit of Christmas" aura.

First came the interview. "Santa, where do you live?"

You would answer, "The North Pole," right?

Over here, that's the wrong answer.

Apparently, to kids in Japan, Santa lives in Finland. So, that's what I said.

"What do you do in the summertime, Santa?"

"I vacation in Okinawa." That got some laughs from the parents.

"Where are your reindeer now, Santa?"

"Outside playing with Hokkaido deer."

Then, I passed out presents to each of the four classes, said a few more things, and took off.

I was inside the school for two hours.

When I got outside, my car was buried. That sight made me glad that there's a sheltered garage lot under the apartment building. At the rate snow was falling this morning, if I didn't have some shelter for my car, I might not see Wasabi-kun until May!

Back home to relax for a bit, but I'm off to the Yamane household now. More later!

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