This diary entry is part 20 of 26 in Lily's diary dated 30 - December 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

So…. ummm…  umm.

Today we pretty much holed up.  We went out to get some food for our feast tomorrow, and did a little last minute looking around at all the Christmasey stuff (Wal-Mart was a MESS) and then we came back.  I promised Sabby I’d at least go to church for Christmas Eve – they do a special service and most of it’s with the lights turned down so they won’t know who I am.  The aidols asked me why I was so bent against going to church, so I told them.

They paused for a moment, and then stood up, bowed, and clapped.  I think they would have rung a bell, too, if there’d been one.

“NOT YOU TOO”, I said, a mixture of embarrassed and angry.

“Sumimasen”, Yuuko said, “But we always bow and clap when we’re at a shrine, and from what you just told us, you’re like a walking shrine.”

I deflated.  How can you argue with that logic?  “Well, if you want to toss 500 yen coins at me, I won’t complain…”

They giggled.  Checkmate.  I told them not to do that again because it’s a sore point, but I got what they were trying to say.  And they’d BETTER NOT start hanging prayers from me…

Anyway, they put on one of the cute outfits they’d gotten at the mall, and went to church with us tonight.

It was just the usual Christmas eve celebrations.  You know, with candles, and cheesy music that you’re supposed to sing along to and the pastor talking about how Jesus came to earth and stuff.  I guess it’s pretty enough and it’s a good show but it’s really not all that much.  I looked over at the girls…  Ai, Yuuko, and Mariko were watching the proceedings with interest, but Minami had tears.  She always seems to have tears.

After the service (and I avoided the pastor) we went home to open a few presents.

I won’t go into what everyone bought everyone, because it’s a little boring, but we did put a lot of thought into it, and everyone got a present.  Minami excused herself halfway through though and went up to my room.  I went up after her, and she was sitting up against the wall, sniffling.

“Minami,” I said, “I know it’s private, but you’ve been spending almost this whole trip sobbing.”  I sat down next to her.  “Spill.”


“You know, tell me what’s wrong.”

She sighed and wiped her eyes.  “You have such a nice family.”

“Well, yes, but..”

Ai walked in and sat on her other side.

“Mine… isn’t nice.”


“My father is always out working.  I almost never see him.  My mother spends all her time drinking.  She’s not mean, but she’s useless.  I have to take care of myself, and her, and… ” she sniffled, “yours isn’t like that.  Your parents… they care.”  She pulled her knees up to her and sobbed.  “You don’t have to take care of them.  They take care of you.”

What could I do?  What could I say?  I just rubbed her back and let her cry it out.

“My friends make it better… sometimes,” she said softly.  “But not all the time.”

“What good does it to a man to gain the world, but lose his soul,” I quoted softly.

She nodded.  “I think mine lost his soul a long time ago.”

“I can’t make it better,” I said. “But try to have a little fun, okay?  They’re back in Japan.  We’re your family right now.  Let us be your family.”

She nodded and wiped her eyes.  Ai whispered something in her ear and she nodded.  Then we all went downstairs and finished opening our Christmas eve presents.  We had some good snacks too, and..  it was a warm evening.

And that’s all you really want out of a Christmas eve, right?  A warm evening.

We got something in email today.  I didn’t tell Minami.  But a talent agency in Japan saw the video of her singing, and, well…  she might have a chance to do it professionally.  I’ll wait to tell her until tomorrow.  It’ll be her Christmas present.  You can’t change your parents, but sometimes….  you have to make your own way.  I hope she sees that.

I told Sabby to be extra nice to her from now on.  I didn’t tell her why, but I said she deserves it.

Time for bed.  We open the rest of the presents in the morning.

Love you all!!! ❤️

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