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You know what’s great in Japan?
People not making a big deal about Christmas.
It’s just another day for couples and families to enjoy the city lights and spend some money for the occasion.
There is no tradition tied to it and people are not obliged to be nice to each other.
So I went to the city alone, guilt-free.

The cousin-in-law’s kids came in the morning in their Santa¬†outfits, ironically asking me if I saw Santa yesterday.

Maybe I’d been pressure-cooked in Chika’s town for a while, I was quite excited to be in Hakata.
There was something about the energy current of cities that simply drags you along.
More ads, more sensory stimulation, more fantasy.

The first thing I did: get a data sim card for the phone and a new SD card from Yodobashi Camera.
I went into the food section and bought some dashi stock pack enough for a year.
I walked out of the station and spent some time admiring the Christmas Market.
The plaza smelled of cinnamon.

I had curry for lunch, headed towards the bookshop and bought a magazine of Nobuyoshi Araki and his last roll of Leica M6.
I’m not a fan of his S&M bondage work, but since I own the same camera, it made a good souvenir.

I walked towards Canal City to look for an optical shop.
It was my main reason coming into the city: to replace the lenses of a pair of glasses I bought in Osaka earlier this year.
Their closest branch was in Canal City.

I saw Korean travel groups.
I saw people queuing up for Starbucks.
I saw an idol group launching their new single.

After that I took a 20 minute walk to Gion, decided to train home, only to change my mind and hopped off at Akasaka in search of a ramen shop recommended by Ryuji.
Alas, it was closed, so I settled for a bottle of green tea at the convenience store instead.

By the time Ryuji picked me up from the station it was almost 6 pm.
I asked him to stop over at the cake shop since I’d forgotten to buy some from the city for the family.

Hana did not seem to be bothered that her dad left her and her mother at home today.

I finished the day at the bath house.

It wasn’t a typical Christmas day, but it was a good day.

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