Our Christmas Tree; Our Christmas
Yeah! “ Thank You! This is what I always wanted; I love it, I love it ............ what is it? ” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — full exif
Yeah!
Thank You! This is what I always wanted; I love it, I love it............ what is it?

The picture above of Anthony ripping the packaging from a present pretty much sums up the day, but our Christmas started a month ago when we set up our Christmas tree.

Helping with the Tree -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Helping with the Tree

When I was growing up in Ohio, we had a real, perfectly-shaped, wonderfully-smelling, live evergreen tree every Christmas. We always got scratched up when decorating it, and the needles would eventually get shed to the floor only to eventually find their way in a most painful manner to our feet. It was absolutely wonderful.

It's been 20+ years since I moved out on my own, and 20+ years since I had any kind of Christmas tree, much less a live one. I'm not sure whether a live one is even possible here in Kyoto, but after having been weaned on the indulgence of a live Christmas tree, the thought of a fake one seemed pathetic.

But Fumie got one, and much to my delight, I find that even a fake tree is a heck of a lot nicer than nothing: it really did warm up the place with its very presence.

Setting Up the Fake Tree -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Setting Up the Fake Tree

Due to my ouchy back at the time, setting up the fake tree was probably more traumatic than trekking out to cut down a real one, but once it was done and dressed, it looked pretty reasonable.

Dressed for the Holidays -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 28mm — 1/10 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800 — full exif
Dressed for the Holidays
Pretty velvety red ornament hanging on a (fake) Christmas tree
D200 + 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 2 sec, f/7.1, ISO 800
Pretty egg-shaped ornament hanging on a (fake) Christmas tree
D200 + 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 3.9 sec, f/5, ISO 100
A Touch of Class on a Fake Tree

After our Christmas-Eve events, Anthony went down for bed too excited to change into his pajamas, opting to stay “dressed and ready”, I guess. Then, of course, Santa-related activities ensued. The results look much better than we achieved last year, and are what a kid should wake up to on Christmas morning...

After Santa's Visit -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 32mm — 12 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — full exif
After Santa's Visit

I'm really happy Fumie got the tree.

I've carried over the tradition my folks had when we were growing up, in that the presents aren't opened until everyone is up and going in the morning. This “everyone” really means “Mom”, since us kids were always up long before first light. There were big stockings that we were allowed to have right away to bide our time, filled with candy, a few small toys, and always a huge apple, a huge orange, and a dollar bill. The waiting was both excruciatingly painful, yet wonderful to savor. Once Mom had her coffee, we'd all gather around the tree, and Dad would pass out a present to its named recipient, continuing to the next only after the previous was opened among appropriate Oooos and Aaaahs from all.

Back to today, we don't have a stocking for Anthony yet, so we told him that if he found a present on the small stool in front of the tree, he could open it right away.

Shockingly, I got up before him. I expected to find him deep in play when I got up at 6:15 for 7:00 mass, but the tree was just as we'd left it. I was sitting on the couch in the dark, stretching my back, when he walked in. He stopped in his tracks, and his eyes quietly grew twice their size as he took in the sight. He noticed me, and exclaimed “Santa came!”

Indeed, he did. Getting to see him walk in was something I'd never expected, and was my present for the day.

It was a while still before he got to open them, with things getting in the way like mass, and a trip to the post office to mail our Christmas cards. Yes, I mailed our Christmas cards on Christmas day, which is amazing in at least two respects: that I could procrastinate so long, and in the novelty that the post office is actually open on Christmas day (because Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan).

Hang Time for Joy ( Look at that vertical distance... he can jump higher than I can! ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 20mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — full exif
Hang Time for Joy
( Look at that vertical distance... he can jump higher than I can! )

The “hang time” photo reminds me of the sequence of him splashing in a rain puddle years ago.

Also, it's interesting to compare his more physical reactions this year to the wide-eyed wonder of a year ago.


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

I am really impressed how you timed that shot mid jump… Very cool pic. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope 2008 brings you much joy and satisfaction.

— comment by Michael Menichetti on December 26th, 2007 at 5:07pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

Two years ago I convinced my wife to let me buy a real Christmas tree. They are available in Japan, but you have to buy a real live tree and plant it in a pot yourself. It cost us around 6,000 yen for a relatively small one (1.5 m or so), but it was so worth it.

The only hard bit was that my wife didn’t want it to die. If we had a garden (or even a balcony) we could have just put it outside, and it would have lasted until the next year easily, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option.

We ended up buying our second one last year, which also of course died.

Anyway, regardless it was sooooooo worth it to have a real Christmas tree once again. I highly recommend you go to your local flower shop and ask if you can order a モミの木 – I’m sure Anthony would be spellbound.

— comment by Thorf on November 10th, 2008 at 4:46pm JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink
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