Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas and New Years

This year, I did not travel anywhere during the holidays, so I can tell you my post for Winter Vacation will not be nearly as exciting as last year. However, I can say that I was not bored thanks to my good friends always willing to have great parties!

As you know, most Japanese people do not celebrate Christmas, so Christmas day is not a national holiday... most people go to work and school as they normally would. However, since the Emperor's birthday is very close to Christmas (the 23rd) the week for Christmas did happen to have Monday off. Because of this reason, my friends and I planned to have our Christmas Party that three-day weekend.

So when it comes to parties, it's all about the food! Despite there being seven people, we prepared far too much food! One of my friends even prepared a whole chicken, which is pretty rare in Japan.

This was also a party-party, so along side building a gingerbread house, we also played some non-traditional games like Jenga and bowling! It seemed a little unconventional, but it was a great party. Also, this was the first time to make a gingerbread house for the people here... luckily since there were so many engineering majors available, I think we did okay!

Besides a Christmas party there was also a New Years party for my laboratory and the Yamahon Challenge. Thanks to my brilliant lab members (and their weak toleration to alcohol) these are always a lot of fun to attend. Most people really are able to relax during these, and I almost always learn something new about the people I work with.

First off, the most infamous and properly named Yamahon Challenge. This is usually a celebration for seniors who are graduating, so normally we will wait until the senior has submitted their thesis before we have this party.   So, in case you do not remember from my post last year, the Yamahon challenge is where each project team in my lab try to see how many plates of sushi they can eat. The winning team wins the title of having beat the 'Yamahon Challenge'. This challenge was named after a senior who graduated, who at one time, could eat close to 30 plates of kaiten sushi or Conveyor belt sushi. That's roughly 60 pieces in one sitting.... yes the Japanese can eat that much!

Just to show you what I mean, here is this year's Yamahon Challenge photos at the beginning:

And at the very end... notice a change of expression on everyone's face? I think it was a little painful for some people:

As usual, the winner were the muscle-cell project team. It only seemed fitting since this year one of the members of that group is graduating. However, you would think that after such a wild party that my lab members would be tired... you would be wrong. Just the very next week we had our 'bonenkai' or forget the year party.

While I am not sure whether some of the lab members truly forgot the year, I am pretty sure some of them forgot what they did that night. I am grateful there are no angry drunks in my laboratory, but there are a few who tell everyone else that they love them.

 This was such a wonderful time! I have been really fortunate to join a laboratory that not only works hard, but plays hard as well. 2013 was a great year for me, and I hope 2014 will be just as great if not better!

Afterwards I am afraid not much happened to me. I have been working on experiments, and doing preparation for a scholarship. Just like in the United States, everyone always is busy again right after the holidays are over, so I am no exception.  Perhaps once it is spring, I will have some more interesting photos and anecdotes to post.

Happy New Years, everyone!

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