I was invited to a reception at the home of the Scottish Consulate General of Japan, as a sort of 'welcome back' (ignoring the fact that I've been back now for four months now...golly, is that all?) to the country. It took two buses followed by a walk up some hilly streets to get to his house. I rang the call button on the wall outside and magically the wooden gates opened in, light streaming down from the residence. It was pretty much as I expected - large, lavish - giant pictures on the walls. On the mantelpiece above the marble fireplace were two framed photographs - one of current emperor, Akihito, and the other of his wife, Empress Michiko. I found this deference to royalty mildy amusing, though it occurs to me that when I was at the British Embassy in Tokyo three years ago, there was more than one portrait of the Queen in the building.
Apparently, there were only three JETs returning this year, or at least only three who could attend (remembering that not everyone is willing to travel several hours for a couple of hours of wine and chit-chat), so the numbers were padded out by other former JETs and various people connected to Japanese organisations. The three of us who came back this year had to give short speeches then all the former JETs introduced themselves then everyone else introduced themselves and we all started eating and drinking. Apparently the Consulate General has the best sushi chef in Scotland, but since I don't eat sushi I couldn't tell you.
There was a former Tokushima JET there. She lived in Hanoura when Hanoura was still a place of its own - its been absorbed into Anan since. There were one or two people that we both knew of, despite being there years apart. It was weird talking about them, like we were talking about dead celebrities.
At one point the Consulate General made us stand round in a circle and watch him sing Moon River a cappella. I didn't know where to look.
When we left, around eight thirty, it had started to snow. Not proper snow, really - just little flakes that weren't lying for the most part. While many parts of the country had been hit by heavy snow over the past couple of days, Edinburgh had missed out. Of course, it's still been absolutely freezing out, which made waiting for a bus that little bit less fun. By the time I got home where was a thin layer of snow on some parts of the street, but it still didn't seem like it would come to much.
I was wrong!