Culture

Happy Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of the year where families all around the world spend quality time together with board games, a big homemade dinner (or two, or three, or… just don’t stop eating ‘til next year), jars full of cookies, special editions of their favourite TV show and the same movies as every year. All around the world? Not quite!

Since only a tiny fraction of the Japanese population is Christian Christmas is unsurprisingly not a national holiday. However it is celebrated. Kind of. You’ve already seen the amazing Christmas lights which are just the tip of the iceberg. Basically every public place or more specific every place that wants you to spend your time and money there is christmassy. You can find huge Christmas trees in department stores, the same music as everywhere around the world in supermarkets and shop assistants wearing Santa hats.

There’s also great choice for you to decorate your own place, yourself, your kids, your dog or your hamster. (Ok, maybe not that… ‘though I wouldn’t be surprised.) Actual, real Christmas trees in your house however seem uncommon, at least I’ve never seen a place selling them. There are various fake ones to choose from, starting with the regular green plastic one (never larger than 50cm really), continuing with artsy wire, glass or wood ones (up to 30cm) over to a spiral of lime green star-shaped tinsel.

Presents are a thing at least for children. They are placed next to them during night and I suppose it’s not that big presents as in the “West”. ‘Though that’s just a wild guess of mine given that there’s plenty of traditional Japanese holidays where you’re meant to give stuff to your or other people’s kids.

Since the festive season is mostly about food, no matter where and what you’re celebrating (don’t pretend it’s not), let’s have a look at what the Japanese like to eat around this time. It’s KFC and strawberry shortcake. Why? Well, some say because that’s traditional Christmas food in the US. Right? Those “Christmas Cakes” can be purchased pretty much anywhere and you can order different variations, like chocolate cream or with a plastic Pikachu on top. Or you can buy some of the ridiculously priced strawberries that started to appear since November and bake yourself.

But what about love and family? Well, family not that much but Christmas in Japan is all about love. Couples will spend the evening in a nice restaurant and it’s a preferred date for confessions. Kinda like a second Valentine’s Day.

How will I spend my Christmas? Well like every other day I suppose. We’ve got winter break and the school has given us half a book of homework, so that needs to be done, I’ve already eaten all the cookies I baked yesterday and now want more and of course there is my best friend, the internet.

So all I’ve got left to say is: Merii kurisumasu! Hope you’re having a jolly good time! I’ll leave you with Kevin who’s way better with the words than me.

Aaaand as always, you can read more! I basically just copy and pasted this whole thing together ‘though I might still have gotten some things wrong. And there’s some more details as well and again other people are better with the words.

Tofugu: We Wish You A Merii Kurisumasu

Tofugu: It’s Christmas in Japan! (If you’re only clicking one link, click this one. It’s a song!)

Tofugu: Christmas in Japan Is Finger Lickin’ Good (KFC Christmas)

Tofugu: Let Them Eat Strawberry Shortcake: Christmas in Japan

Tofugu: Christmas Goodies 2013: Tofugu Edition! (This ones for you, if you’re late again with your presents)

HIROKOCHANNEL: Christmas in Japan 2010

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