On Friday the Okayama Christmas Tree turned up, and on saturday all of the cashiers in my local supermarket, Nishina, started wearing silly Santa hats- yes, it’s Christmas time once again! To be honest I can’t believe how quickly autumn has passed- my favourite Japanese season seemed so much longer last year; perhaps leaving the country and going to Korea helped. Anyway, today is December 2nd and winter has truly arrived. This morning I took the Japanese Proficiency Test level 3, after passing level 4 last year. It went ok, though the red card/yellow card system lost its novelty this time around. Still, now that thats over I really have no long term Japanese goal anymore- perhaps I’ve reached the peak of my Nihongo powers. I’m going to keep learning kanji though, albeit at a slower pace, and maybe I’ll start blogging in Japanese too (though I don’t think my basic Japanese can match my sophisticated English turns of phrase). Anyway, this morning’s test was made all the more difficult by being in a state of pain and suffering, thanks to drinking way too much at last nights Shonan Bonenkai. Me and Kawa-T decided to mark the occasion by buying Cuban cigars!! Sadly no Coheba Esplendido’s, but we did get some good sized Romeo y Julietas to enjoy with Nishi T, Kawasaki T and one of the kyoto-sensei’s. Heres a couple of pictures of us posing outside the cigar shop!

Followed by a couple from the party itself… (blurred shot on the right taken by Toda-T, with Nishi-T’s face the main loss)

And here’s the slightly shorter Japanese version of this post…