My New Year’s Experience 

“I’m very glad I had the chance to experience the winter holidays here in Japan,
it’s a memory I will cherish for years to come.” 

Linn Kullberg
Dept. of Cancer Biology

When leaving Sweden, I looked forward to experiencing a lot of new things, and holiday celebrations were no exception. This was the first time I had a Christmas dinner consisting of German potato patties, Cuban pudding, Japanese “udon” soup and strawberry cake, and I loved all of it.

Being far away from my home and loved ones during the holidays for the first time was actually easier than I thought it would be. Firstly, keeping in touch with my loved ones through Skype and letters has been very helpful. Secondly, I’ve come to realise that being a Swede means never really being far from home.

When the feelings of homesickness come creeping, just go to IKEA! That’s what I did a few days before Christmas, to stock up on some traditional Swedish Christmas foods. Of course, food from IKEA can’t really compare to the traditional “julbord” (Christmas meal) lovingly prepared by my grandma. Even so, sharing some meatballs, gingerbread and “glögg” (Swedish mulled wine) with my friends really made me feel at home.

However, I needed to fill the days between Christmas and New Years – when I would usually be relaxing with my family, having tea with friends and visiting my relatives – with activity to keep the homesickness at bay. My friends and I went to Tokyo, where we spent a few wonderfully sunny days at the Sky Tree, Asakusa, Shibuya and the port of Yokohama. Doing our best to experience as much of Tokyo as possible in just three days left us overwhelmed and tired, but happy. After this trip, we were ready for a simple New Year’s celebration back home in Sendai.