Hidden passion

Who would have thought, huh?…

Merry Christmas everyone, even if you don’t really care about the holidays I still wish you an awesome week and lots of delicious food to eat! I’m having a short and a bit weird Christmas (my first Christmas in Japan after all) while looking for an apartment! I’ll hopefully write more about Japanese Christmas customs and my struggles tomorrow, today I ate so much I just want to go to sleep. And there’s work tomorrow too (cause I didn’t take any days off and Christmas aren’t national holidays in Japan). I hope I won’t end up skipping the note like last week, heh…

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I had a lot of fun reading your comments from last week and thank you so much for somehow pushing Replay to the top of TWC! You are the best, thank you! <3 I hope this page is amusing enough for the Christmas week (‘∀’●)♡

LIFE IN JAPAN CORNER #6

Christmas in Japan! What is it like? Do they even celebrate? Oh, they sure do. Japanese people love to celebrate, no matter the occasion. Christmas here has little to do with baby Jesus, though. It’s mostly considered something similar to Valentines, with couples spending time together buying presents, eating fancy dinners and booking hotel rooms (book waaay in advance!). My first impression of Japanese Christmas time were illuminations, they’re fantastic, I love them (‘∀’●)♡ Second thing – commercials in the subway, showing Christmas tree and family at the table and mother in the kitchen and then serving… fried chicken and a huge strawberry cake.

One time I was at the bakery and the guy tried to make a little chit-chat with me. He was stunned that in Poland we actually don’t eat chicken nor strawberries for Christmas but we eat fish. Fish?! For Christmas?! What a shocker.

I was determined to try and find some traditional Polish foods for this year’s Christmas (although I did buy strawberries!), just to see if I can do it. I really like Polish traditional Christmas dishes too. The main problem was red borscht with ushka. The soup is made from beetroot and that vegetable is… non-existent in Japan. But! If you search long and hard you can find it (I bought a single one lol it was very expensive) and I even managed to buy a soup-stock for borscht! So lucky me! Ushka are a lot of work so I bought wontons… Basically the same thing.

Instead of chicken, we wanted some fish, and there’s plenty of it here. We went with salmon and just fried it with wine and soy sauce – simple and tasty~

Now cakes. Strawberry ones were out of the question (even though I’d love to eat some, they all looked so yummy…) since my fiancee hates whipped cream. Don’t ask me, I don’t know why. The only cakes that he likes are apple-pie and keks (that’s a Polish name, I think it’s just called ‘fruits cake’ in English, with lots of nuts and raisins and candied, dried fruits). Apple-pie can be found in any bakery so we just bought a small one. I’d bake my own but we don’t have an oven right now… We saw keks before Christmas too, but it was insanely expensive, so much I burst out laughing when I saw the price. But we found a very small one in a supermarket, called “Christmas strudel” (it had little in common with an actual strudel but who cares) so the cakes were covered!

It would seem you can have a proper Polish Christmas in Japan as well! What about you guys? Want to share some of your favorite Christmas foods?

Here are some recipes for Polish traditional dishes, if you are curious: ushka, borscht, keks.

 

34 comments on “Hidden passion”

  1. NiWo21k Reply

    Merry Christmas to you too – hope you have a nice time even with all whats still on your plate – i know how it is, i have told you how my family was travelling through the world 😉

    ANd the new page: I still feel sorry for Kasper even if i like his little sister i feel with him how hard it is to take care of her XD

  2. Refugnic Reply

    Have a merry Christmas, everyone and you in particular NI. 🙂

    Thank you for being so very diligent all the time.
    Most webcomics I know wouldn’t update regularly on Christmas day, but if anything put up a filler, but here you are, uploading yet another excellent page as if it was nobody’s business.

    And regarding your ‘weird Christmas’…no family? No presents?
    You are with the person you love in the place you wish to be.
    Home is where the heart lives they say, so now tell me, are you not at home?
    Are you not surrounded by the people you care most about?

    And are peace, happiness and health not the greatest gifts one could ever ask for?

    And no, I’m not a huge fan of the whole ‘presents exchange’ custom.
    It’s a waste of time, effort, money and resources in my opinion.
    But that’s just me, 🙂

    • NotImportant NotImportant Reply

      Thank you! Have a great time too!

      Well, with the presents, I was just trying to stress that I didn’t really have to time to think about Christmas before it actually came, hence the lack of presents. I don’t care about gifts themselves that much. That was different when we were kids, hahaha~ And when you say it like that it sounds all nice and beautiful but the reality of the situation is that we’re both stressed out, upset about the apartment-hunt and constantly fighting (because: stress). Plus my fiancee is not a Christmas person, he always claimed that he hates it.

      But. It wasn’t so bad in the end, we went shopping, cooked a lot of yummy food, still fought (but made up) and had a nice, first Christmas eve together.

    • JW Reply

      And no, I’m not a huge fan of the whole ‘presents exchange’ custom.
      It’s a waste of time, effort, money and resources in my opinion.

      It’s a ritual to strengthen social bonds. Wasting time, effort, money and resources is kind of the point. (That said, I’d concentrate on investing time and effort, because those are most valuable and you’ll get the most satisfaction out of the act of giving.)

      Gift exchange isn’t really a big part of Christmas here, we already do that on St. Nicholas day.

      • Refugnic

        Actually, I do agree with you.

        The greatest gifts are those that are not bought with money. (You try telling that to a three year old though :D)

        But the sad fact of the matter is, that like 99 % of the gifts that get exchanged on Christmas Eve (or St. Nicholas day) are like zero effort, but all money.
        Like they’re just doing it, because it’s customary, not because they care about the person they give it to.

        And quite honestly, THAT kinda presents I really can do without.
        And while that may not always be true, it’s still the feeling I get with Christmas these days…which kinda spoils any sort of Christmas spirit for me.
        Oh and then there’s the problem with ‘Where the heck do I put all that stuff I never wanted?’

        JW, where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?
        Must be a catholic region, cause ‘presents for Christmas eve’ is mostly a Lutheran thing, though I do believe that many catholic families adopted it for themselves as well…just like many Lutheran people still celebrate the 6th of December, even though they’re not supposed to worship any saints.

      • JW

        JW, where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?

        I’m from the Netherlands, so very much a traditionally protestant (Calvinist) area. I think they did try to abolish St Nicholas celebrations once (because obviously he’s a catholic saint), but he proved far too popular.

        Oh and then there’s the problem with ‘Where the heck do I put all that stuff I never wanted?’

        That’s what they invented ebay for isn’t it? 😉
        One way to avoid that issue is to give something edible (and if they like it, you can give the same thing next year! 😛 ) Or for those that might appreciate it, other consumables, like perfume and bath salt etc. But if you try that on the wrong person they may get the impression you think they smell and need a bath.

        Personally I like putting a lot of effort into wrapping the gift. I can probably spend hours on it; though I don’t really keep track, so I don’t know if it’s as long as people seem to think I spend. As a side benefit, that also makes it easy to “get away with” giving a gift card (or money for nieces and nephews), which also prevents clutter.

      • KTrimbach

        “they may get the impression you think they smell and need a bath.”
        Yea, well that’s their problem. You can’t go around on eggshells afraid of offending people all the time. Of course, you try not to offend them, but there’s a limit to that and worrying that they might think that you think they smell is definitely past it.

        We feel similarly about the exchange of unnecessary gifts that the recipient can and probably will go buy themselves anyway. Unfortunately, the exchange of gifts means a lot to a lot of people (read the 5 Love Languages), so it’s important to give something even if they don’t need it. We always agree within my family that we’aren’t giving gifts among the adults, but every year there I am unwrapping gifts without any to give in return.

      • JW

        Yea, well that’s their problem.

        I’d say it’s the problem of anyone that values that friendship/relationship. Unless you go around gifting to perfect strangers that you’ll never ever see again.

        You can’t go around on eggshells afraid of offending people all the time. Of course, you try not to offend them, but there’s a limit to that and worrying that they might think that you think they smell is definitely past it.

        I disagree, because it’s a utilitarian object and so it’s either something you think they want, or something you think they need. If there’s never been any indication or reason to think it’s something they like, then it implies you think it’s something they need.

        We always agree within my family that we’aren’t giving gifts among the adults, but every year there I am unwrapping gifts without any to give in return.

        Hint: this will happen again next year.

      • Klorix Camp dweller

        Well, in my family, we usually try to think of things we want/need/would by ourselves anyway and put that on a wishlist.* So other family members are happy to get some gifts for the others, you don’t have to come up with something that might possibly be a waste of resources and space and everyone is happy. We tend to be a practical family and don’t like gifting kitsch (decoration is ok, though, if you know the person likes it). Worst case, everyone is ok with gift vouchers so they can get themselves whatever they like.

        Lucky me has got a pretty relaxed family. ╭( ・ㅂ・)و

        * That doesn’t always work. This year was a terrible mess and I started sending my wishlist like two weeks before Christmas. (My brothers often are even worse, though…)

  3. antrik Reply

    To be honest, I’m not quite sure what Sofia is trying to say there, or why she got worked up like that…

    Well, at least the cement will be mixed well 😉

    • Klorix Camp dweller Reply

      I think she got worked up because a) she doesn’t want any more competitors for Robert’s heart and b) because she feels insulted by Kasper’s remark about Sofia ‘of course’ not noticing Robert not acting entirely naturally when Ada is around…

      But I don’t know what she means about Laura’s girls’ talk either.

      • JW

        But I don’t know what she means about Laura’s girls’ talk either.

        She’s just lashing out under the pretext that Kasper has no place being part of the conversation (i.e.three girls talking among themselves about relationships), and so she accuses him of only being there to keep watch over Laura like a tyrannical “Big Brother” that doesn’t trust his sister to think for herself.
        She seems to be forgetting that to start with, they’re all there to work on a protective spell; the chit-chat is secondary.

        Luckily Laura is there to diffuse the tension.

      • Klorix Camp dweller

        Ah, that sounds plausible to me. Didn’t get it because most of us probably did not forget what they were actually doing. Niw she’s just annoyed by him. I can live with that. She’s likely still pretty uncomfortable talking about her feelings for Robert…

      • antrik

        Well, I think it’s pretty clear *what* ticked her off (Kasper’s implication that she is blinded by her infatuation) — I was just surprised that’s she’d get so angry about that…

        On further consideration, I guess she’s getting defensive, because several people (first Nina and now Kasper) are basically saying that her romantic interest is weird, and she is blind for not seeing it?

        The other riddle was that even in view of her anger, the rhetorical questions she threw at Kasper in response seemed kinda out of the blue and not making much sense…

        However, I think I figured that out as well now: apparently she is suggesting that *unless* Kasper also has a romantic interest in Robert — which he presumably can’t have, or he wouldn’t be calling her out on it — he has no right to butt in on the conversation like that…

        (Which is of course entirely unfair: since objectively, Nina didn’t have any more grounds for volunteering her opinion than Kasper…)

  4. antrik Reply

    The tickle attack — it’s a time-honoured tactic for deterring little sisters from telling (more) embarrassing stuff about yourself, I take it? 😉

      • antrik

        I suspected as much, since I remembered you mentioning a little sister before 🙂

      • KTrimbach

        Ahh. I couldn’t tell what was going on there, but that makes sense now.
        Oh, now I see. I didn’t realize she was now talking about Kasper.

      • Klorix Camp dweller

        Only have brothers. If any of us had ever known anything embarassing about another, it wouldn’t have been tickles that stopped them telling things…

  5. antrik Reply

    So… I can’t claim that I *expected* Kasper to be a “huge romantic” — but I’m not the least bit shocked, either 🙂

    Just hope the others won’t be silly about this… Would be rather unfortunate if they lost respect for their commander over something like that.

    • Klorix Camp dweller Reply

      Yeah, I’m not that surprised that Kasper is actually a big softie. And he’s putting up a front himself, but cute cheeky Laura is breaking it…

      • antrik

        Is it really fair to say he is putting up a front as well? I don’t remember any situation where he specifically seemed to be hiding this side of his… It just didn’t come up before as far as I can tell.

        He didn’t try to *hide* his pile of novels, for one thing…

        (And BTW, I’m curious now what titles are in there 😉 )

        The “sniffling” part clearly went too far for him, though. (Which seems quite understandable…) I guess you *could* classify that as “front” as well — though if you really want to be that strict, you’d be hard pressed to find *anyone* who isn’t doing it — so the expression pretty much loses all meaning…

    • JW Reply

      Would be rather unfortunate if they lost respect for their commander over something like that.

      Or they’ll all come to him for relationship advice.

      • antrik

        Heh… That would be pretty funny 🙂

        (And then they all get eaten by demons, because with all the counselling, he didn’t get around to looking after the safety of the camp any more…)

  6. Rateus Camp dweller Reply

    Lovely page! I think it should just be romantic not romanticist, but that’s a minor thing.

    • antrik Reply

      I thought so too — but I’m not a native speaker, so I didn’t dare speaking up 🙂

    • NotImportant NotImportant Reply

      Definitely =_= I’m going to fix it in a sec, thanks. How nobody (me included) didn’t see it till now is beyond me. Must be the holidays!

  7. Adriano Reply

    Hey, thanks for the recipes!
    I’ll czeck ’em out
    heheheh
    *cough*
    About the page: Poor Kasper, ahah! He didn’t deserve that. Both from her sister and from Sofia.

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