Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bon Enkai means Year-End Party

In Japan, this is the season for Bon Enkais or "year-end parties" as they might be translated. I went to Katahira-chu's Bon Enkai last night. They held the party up at a place called Dake Onsen, which is well known throughout the region for its fine hot spring waters (onsen means hot spring). We had an overpriced meal that was almost too pretty to eat and at a hotel and spent the night up there.

This appears to be a fairly common custom in the Japanese Junior High Schools. Unfortunately with my busy travel schedule last year, I wasn't able to make it to any Bon Enkais. You go spend the night at a hotel (girls and boys in separate rooms of course), take a bath together (also separate) and then eat dinner.

Following this, we went back up to our rooms. Can you guess what we all did when we got back to our rooms? You guessed right: more food! We chowed down on an enormous sushi platter, squid jerky, pizza flavored potato chips, and pink rice cakes.

After that, we all went to bed. Overall, it was a fun evening. Besides having to sleep on a less than comfortable futon, it was a nice place. The hotel had a great onsen. Most of the teachers were questioning me about my travel plans for the winter vacation. The music teacher, Ms. Sugita, is going to Prague and Budapest over the holiday. She's quite excited about seeing some opera, as Koriyama lacks somewhat in the culture department. Unfortunately, most of the other teachers don't have any big plans for the new year.

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