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New Year eve at home

Bridge

Yep, first time in 7 years I came home early enough to see my relatives sober and busy with cooking, buying buzz, wrapping presents and planning holiday trips all the while finishing their jobs for the year and complaining about financial crisis nonstop.

Tower

Gosh, life in St.Petersburg is hectic! Phones ringing every few minutes, traffic jams, winter dirt everywhere – on my boots, jeans, even bag!!! In just a few days I managed to experience the monthly amount of stress and excitement. When I arrived I was told that my luggage was left in Moscow and that according to the new custom rules about international carriage I will have to personally go to Moscow to pick it up…I was so horrified I came home speechless. Luckily, the girl working at the airport misunderstood the new rules and my suitcase was delivered the next day. But of course nothing is that easy here. Me and my mom being impatient creatures to our roots, went to pick it up at the airport ourselves which led to the events where our car got hit at the parking lot with no witnesses and a large repair bill for my mom to pay….

Ermitazh

People in Russia seriously never make life easy for themselves. Turn TV in Tokyo and 80% of the broadcast will be about cooking and sport. Here I spend 3 days at home and already know in details about every military conflict, war, economical and ecological crisis there is on planet. Bad news flow from all over the world to the screens of TV so there is no surprise anymore when I call my best friend and instead of girly chat she goes on for 2 hours about financial crisis and all the rumors about devaluation of rubles and dollars…

Wine

Apart from my small cultural shock upon arrival at home, I have a great time here with my family and my friends. Me, Alex and his girlfriend went to see Christmas market and night illumination in the city. We had hot wine in the park and took great pictures on the banks of the river.

Nevskiy and me

We also went to the movies and later on to the sky lounge near Russian museum for coffee and cakes and a great view to the city.

Fenya and me

At home I play with puppies. My dog had 5 and they are all so cute. They are so funny, learning how to walk and eat from the plate..

Fenya

Today we have a lot to cook. New Year eve in Russia is all about eating and drinking so champaign and vodka is prepared in boxes and food in canisters to feed tons of guests and last for a few days during which noone will be sober enough to shop. ^-^ As usual my mom will give me an important task of staying away and not messing around. I’ll do my best!

Christmas at the beach

Me at the beach

My fiance took me to the beach on Christmas because he knows how much I love winter sea. It’s so bright and blue and empty – a perfect place to spend Christmas away from crowds and commercial fantasies.

Jumping at the beach

We sat on the beach, climbed at the top of observation deck and had hot and steamy rice cakes. It was so windy and sunny and peaceful. I can sit on the sand and look into horizon for many hours.

xmas

Later on we went to the park to have picnic on the grass and then to the shopping mall to try different types of new Italian gelato.

Vincent’s birthday in Aoyama

Me and Vincent with cake

Vincent is my hero because he organizes his own birthday party every year. This is a real pain to take care of everything from venue to food to invitations to time to money matters. He does all of it by himself without asking his friends for help. I really admire his ability to do all that AND enjoy the party AND greet and chat with all the guests not forgetting anyone. If it was me, I would get drunk and wake up when it’s time for cake and presents. Yeah, he did the cake too! ^-^

Mia and Takeshi

The party was at a small French restaurant in Minami Aoyama. It was cozy and food although junk and party was decent enough, maybe because the cocktails were coming nonstop! ^-^

Me and Gow at the party

There were friends whom I somehow meet only once a year at his birthday party. Somehow we don’t have any other occasion to meet. It’s funny how everyone is already thinking of Vincent’s birthday as a meet-up place. You can always meet some new and interesting people there too, mostly working in show business.

Vincent and me

They all have such outstanding funny personalities, it’s so easy to just come to the party and find yourself comfortable in a company of strangers. ^-^ I really enjoy his party and can’t wait for the big anniversary one next year. ^-^

Kinchakuda paradise

flowers

Back in September me and my boyfriend went to Kinchakuda to see cosmos and red spider lilies. It was a season of blooming and it was absolutely beautiful. Endless fields of bright colors, rocky river banks, mountains on background of blinding blue sky – that’s the thing you don’t want to miss if you are in Japan around beginning of autumn. It was still pretty hot and as always lots of people but you could walk around in cosmos fields, even make yourself a bouquet and stay there as long as you want!

Red tiger lilly field

The only turn down is crowd. You can’t snap a decent picture without people on the background doing the same thing. In Japan it’s all about taking a good picture. Photography is on the top list of  Japanese favorite hobbies – everyone and I mean everyone carries a digital camera on themselves at all times. I am no different of course. When I go back to Russia and take out my tiny canon to snap a picture of a lunch or flower growing by the pavement I look odd to others. It’s one of those things that shows I’ve been in Japan for too long.. ^-^

Cosmos field