Christmas. What a wonderful time of year.
A time where families and friends gather around decorated trees to celebrate and open presents. A time of year when many of us attempt to rekindle the few remaining embers of our childhood in an attempt to make it through the misery of winter. A time of year when when an obese and most probably heavily diabetic man dressed in red magically flies through the sky.
In Japan, however, it is a little different.
When you see the Christmas decorations go up for sale next to the Halloween decoations as early as late november, you might be fooled into thinking Japan is obsessed with Christmas.
Not so much.
Christmas in Japan is just the same as Valentine’s day in Japan. A holiday artificially created by companies trying to boost sales. As a result, Christmas in Japan is a 4-week-long celebration of Christmas shopping music, Christmas markets, cheap decorations and very little else.
The day itself is just another work/school day for the majority of the country. There is no family get-togethers, few presents, and only the odd comment around the office about it being Chritmas day.
This is, of course, completely understandable. Japan was never a Christian or pagen country, so why would they? Instead, Japan has modified Christmas into a holiday for dating and eating KFC. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.
At the end of the day, most of the foreigners living in Japan are expats away from their family, so no matter how hard they tried, Christmas will never be what it is in their own country.
But at the end of the day, regardless of where you are or what you believe, Christmas is what you make of it. It’s not impossible to book a day off for Christmas, and there plenty of places with illuminations and German-style Christmas markets to get you in the mood.
Happy New Year, everyone.