T'is the season, isn't it? And I wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season where ever you are!
Luckily, I work with 7 year olds so I do get some time off and I'll be exploring bits of Tokyo during my time off. But another place with lots of kids is the Shiramizu dojo, which is also taking some time off.
But before all of that, the dojo celebrated its "bonenkai", when Japanese get together to celebrate the end of the year. The word is actually made up of a few words. First off, "bo" is derived from the word for "forget". "Nen" is year. And "kai" means meeting/gathering (hence "taikai" for tournament- or "big gathering").
Anyways, this is a chance for everyone to get together to celebrate the end of the year and put any bad events behind them and look towards the new year. The usual inclusion of alcohol at a bonenkai for adults also means the forgetfulness and celebration happens to full effect. At Shiramizu, there are two bonenkai's, essentially divided into one for kids and one for adults.
And what (another) feast that was. With all the dojo's staff, many of it's of-age students, and some parents, there were about 25 of us there celebrating and laughing. The food (as you can see in the picture) was great and many fully used the "unlimited drinks" feature.
(ed-For those eager to keep the party going, after the bonenkai called it a night, a nijikai, or second party, soon was established by a smaller group not ready to call it quits who soon camped out at a local karaoke bar...)
Last high performance elementary & junior high class.