And they did! Yeah!
It was quite fun once we actually arrived- only two false starts (false stops really) Matsumoto has a weird system of giving community centres nicknames. So Chuo kominkan (central community centre) is also known as M-Wing, Azusagawa community centre is kaizen centre and the community centre where the party was to be held- Castle East Community Centre is called Fukufukuraizu. And that's the name I remembered. Only as it's not the real name of the building it wasn't in the satnav. Never fear, we knew the general direction we were heading in. And we arrived at East District Community Centre and that seemed close enough. Only there were a couple of buildings there and we- K, I, two be-Christmas dressed kids, two bottles of apple juice and a platter of cookies rather surprised the poor caretaker at East District Senior Welfare Services. Oops. He pointed us in the direction of the Community Centre. Which was closed. And locked. And very dark. Hmmmmm... Back in the car, rather less Christmassy spirit as the girls equate getting back in the car with going home and were not interested in that idea.
Never fear, third time lucky and we arrived without (further) incident and enjoyed great conversation, great Christmas food (artichoke dip, home made stollen or dolmades anyone?) and live Christmas carols. Wow. And the kids?
There were chair storage carts with wheels. And six little girls. And a big empty space at the back of the room. So it was endless rounds of go karts/ crashem derbies/ speed demons. Who knew Christmas brought out the reckless in people, huh?