When I realised the company had winter break, I decided to book a flight back for Christmas and New Year's. I wasn't sure when I'd get to go back next as 2013 would be even busier with 4 projects running concurrently. I have other mini projects on the side, but that's another story.
I was in a dilemma as to which date I should fly back. It would have been impossible to attend Christmas celebrations at KBF and GTPJ even though both are on different dates. 25 December is not a holiday here, so we had 2 celebrations before. The big one which was open to public was held at the Kitano Meister, a popular tourist spot with a multi-purpose hall which we rented for the event.
It was really very encouraging to see so many people joining. Some tourists who were downstairs visiting the shops and galleries also made their way up upon hearing the songs from the hall.
This particular group of singers look like a scene from Sister Act with their gospel gowns. I later found out they're not Christians. A group of Christian musicians had conducted a music workshop in Nara, and had taught them gospel songs. They were invited to our church to present Christmas songs.
For some reason, the Japanese have a fascination with the Hawaiian culture. Well, for one, its a popular tourism spot especially for families and honeymooners. Also, there's a big community of Japanese there, so you'd be forgiven if you thought you were still in Japan.
Anyways, KBF have their own hula grrls. They perform at special occasions like this, and it's really beautiful. I first saw them at the Malaysian Night event and was so touched when they danced to the song "Just Let Me Say". When I expressed this to Ka'Chan, one of the lead dancers, she gave me a copy of the CD which they practice to. I first got it when I still didn't have Internet, so it brought some cheer to my little home then.
The Christmas celebration ended with the song Silent Night. The visitors were given an illumination stick as part of the welcome pack.
Some realising they might not be able to stay to the end to use it (maybe their tour bus was waiting downstairs!) actually went up to us to return it. How honest ya! I was really surprised as no one would have faulted them should they just keep it and decide to use it at home.
It was full house that evening. I had offered to help Yuko with the welcome team, and didn't realise how tiring it would be. Ideally I would have preferred to do something which I'm more familiar with, but seeing how much help they needed I thought it was a good experience.
The Japanese Christians might be a minority in this country, but they serve humbly and joyfully despite not being very outward about it. It's like a simmering pot of warm food that needs to be heated up to release the taste.