Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

Deck the tables with boughs of holly

On Sunday I went to the MINNA no Salon Christmas party. I was assigned to co-lead with another ALT in town. According to the original plan, we were going to bake gingerbread cookies, but it was later decided that baking would take too long. Instead, the activity was switched to the construction of "table trees." Participants were provided with those green styrofoam things used for flower arrangements plus a bunch of evergreen clippings that they would combine into miniature tree shapes. My job was to direct this process in English.

I brought several other things with me. First, I baked a batch of gingerbread/cranberry muffins. (There was supposed to be a maximum of 30 participants, and so I made exactly 30 muffins.) Then I made a simple (and non-alcoholic) egg nog for them to sample. (Hey, if there's any place not afraid of raw egg, it's Japan.) I brought my handmade set of Christmas-related vocabulary flash cards and printed up English and Japanese versions of "The 12 Days of Christmas" to take along just in case there was extra time.

Loaded with all this, I biked down to the party location. I was then informed that response was far greater than expected and there would be at least 40 people attending. (They wound up cutting all the muffins in half so that everyone could try some.) The "table tree" activity was quite a success. The instructions were simple enough that everyone could understand even in English, particularly since everyone was given a handout with example pictures, and the ALT and I were demonstrating at a table in the front of the room. It reminded me of when we used to make Christmas wreaths at the farm. Here's a picture of my finished tree.

The other ALT was supposed to have brought a game to play, but unfortunately she had spent the past couple days in the hospital with food poisoning and didn't have time to put something together. (Japan is suffering its worst Norovirus outbreak in 25 years, according to the news.) So we wound up using both my flashcards and the song. (I made sure to tell them that they at least had to sing the "five golden rings" line, even if they couldn't get any of the rest of the song.) The egg nog was a hit. I think the muffins went over well, but it was funny when I announced that they contained molasses and one of the children present shouted, "No, I don't need that!" <snicker>

Warcraft is also celebrating the holiday season with the Feast of Winter Veil. There are a number of special holiday touches in the game, such as snowballs and wrapping paper for presents and the ability to make your mount look like a reindeer. There is a device that, when you step in it, makes your character look like a gnome in a "Santa's helper" costume. Here's what it did to my dwarf priest, Hamashi.

Note: I'm not sure of the source for this recipe, since it's just handwritten on scrap paper. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say it's probably from Nikki and David Goldbeck's cookbook. It's supposed to be cake, but I poured it into small muffin cups.

1/2 cup milk + 1/2 T vinegar
1 t baking soda
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1/8 t salt
1 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
2 cups flour
1/4 cup fruit (I used cranberry jelly)

Set oven to 350F and bake for 30-35 minutes (for cake). For muffins, I baked them about 25 minutes...but things take quite a bit longer to bake in a Japanese microwave/toaster/oven than in an American oven.
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