The weekend before last, I had my American and Japanese neighbors over for an ornament exchange. This is a new concept for Japanese because most of them have never gone to, or heard of this type of party. When I sent out invitations for the party, I had no expectations as to who would come. I was just hoping to have at least a few people.
|Chocolate fondue, dips, sweets, etc.|
To my surprise, we had a large turnout. We had over 20 people here, and everyone was so excited to come to an Amerika-jin's house. One neighbor even brought his video camera and was filming the party. The Japanese were so generous with gifts, and food (largest chocolate bar I've ever seen, some Champagne, sweets, sushi rice, fruit and cupcakes) to share with everyone. A large number that came spoke some English, but even the ones that didn't, had a good time. I had someone translate the directions of an Ornament Exchange. My only suggestion was that if someone really wanted a certain ornament, then it was okay (daijoubu) to take it. Many Japanese are shy, or don't want to hurt someones feelings...but I gave them permission to "steal" something they wanted.
I'm just so happy to have opened up our house to the neighbors. Next weekend I'm planning on having a few kids over to decorate sugar and gingerbread cookies. Glad to make memories with people from our host country.