IKIMASHO!

As Christmas approaches / クリスマスを楽しみにしています

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From a mild autumn to a frigid winter in the space of just a few days – that’s what this week has felt like in Tokyo. Walking around the annual Setagaya Boroichi Flea Market this morning, I was bundled up in a long-sleeve shirt, a sweater, a hoodie, and a bomber jacket. Add to that a scarf, gloves and a cup of cheap coffee to keep me warm. When I tell people how much I hate cold weather they usually respond with, “But you’re from Ireland, aren’t you?” To which I usually reply “Yes – that’s why I don’t live there anymore!” The plus side? It wasn’t raining, and the skies were clear. And so, even if I was cold, at least I got to stay dry. ALSO, I got to eat something new – a giant flat gyoza dumpling! This was amazing, and something I had never seen before. That alone was worth leaving the warmth of my apartment for.

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A large flat gyoza dumpling called a ‘cha-pin’!


I went to the Setagaya Boroichi for the first time about two years back. (Photos here.) It is basically an enormous flea market that has been going on for more that 430 years, attracting tens of thousands of people. It is admittedly very busy and some of the stalls are hard to get a good look at. But if you have patience (I don’t, but Miss IKIMASHO! does) then you can pick up some good vintage stuff. We picked up a retro hotpot from the 80s to make some nabe with this winter. Our tree is up and the place is looking well 🙂

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Our retro find from this year’s Setagaya Boroichi

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The tree is up!


It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only two weeks away. I will be staying in Japan for this one, my first one in Tokyo and only the second time I have ever stayed in the country during the winter break. (The last time? 2003.) I’m going to Disney with some friends for some Christmas-themed madness this Wednesday, then we have a short trip planned to Kyoto next weekend. Next year, our travel plans include a trip back to Northern Ireland (and maybe Europe) at the end of April, then America and Mexico during the summer.

At my kindergarten, the Christmas Performance is done and dusted, and this will be the final week of Term 2. Having my own class this year has definitely been more challenging than my last job, but I have settled into the role and I am enjoying not having to commute so much. It also gives me a chance to be much more creative and artistic. For the Christmas mural in the assembly hall I replicated a scene from The Grinch, turning the teachers into Whos carrying the Christmas Tree. The kids loved my giant Grinch model.

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I’m excited to get this final week over me and go to Kyoto next weekend, followed by a few weeks of relaxing during the winter break. I will of course be writing about Kyoto and some of the cool places we go, but this particular post I just wanted to keep more like a journal entry. I hope you are all well, and thank you to those faithful readers who continue to follow IKIMASHO! Justin x


Daily life in Tokyo, Japan | IKIMASHO!

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