Melli Kurisumasu

I originally wrote this for Christmas 2001 and had it up on my old web page but with the season upon us I decided to repost (especially since my entires were MUCH better back then anyway)

  So the other day Aunt P asked me about Christmas and what happens in Japan and I rambled so much that it began to sound like a newspaper column. It ended up being a good edition for my webpage/ blog.

  The Japanese have adopted Christmas as their own and have mimicked us well (they forget all about the TRUE meaning of Xmas).  If they celebrate it it's mostly a couple thing and single Japanese get all melancholy at that time of the year because the radio is bombarding them messages of getting hooked up. There's even big singles bashes in big towns these days.  Decent restaurants are booked up. It's like Valentine's Day but a fat man in a red suit has replaced cupid's bow and arrow.

  Christmas carols are on the radio and have been since the start of November, though just cool jingles and pop hits or Japanese Christmas love songs.  No "hohohos" and fat men coming down the chimney (or getting stuck).  No senior citizens getting run over by reindeer and certainly no religious songs though I've been tempted to pen "Santa is a Buddha just like us". He DOES have the belly!

  True to the Japanese custom of gift giving, there are mandatory gifts so the kids get these. Lately Santa has gotten a visa and makes yearly visits over here too (I dread to see how he's getting through security and customs this year {note this was jsut after 9/11}).  He sometimes shows up in a mall or occasionally at a party, but never in a Salvation  Army uniform. The gifts aren't quite as lavish as what kids back home get, but that's because, by Japanese tradition, they will get nice lump sums of cash from relatives in the new year.

  Lights are up, or have been up since last Christmas or the one before (a lot like back home!) and there are decorations in the shops. There will be NO snow in this town but I only need to drive about 20- 30 mins to find some {note* this year it may take longer if there is any at all!}.

  Which brings us to the New Year. That IS a big deal and it's near mandatory to get home for it. They will visit the shrine either December 31st or January 1st or shortly after.  Prayers are said, money is offered, sake gets drunk (and so do some of the visitors as a little cup of warm free sake is offered at the shrine at this time).  You must deck out in your best for this and a kimono is considered the best if you have one AND the patience to get it on.  Little babies are showed off to the gods, little kids are showed off to everyone….

  Then at home you eat copious amounts of lavish food made (or lately bought) specially for the occasion.  New year's cards are sent out to everyone you've ever met (a custom created by shareholders in the Japanese Postal Service) and you get 4 or 5 days off (pure luxury in this country) to just lie in front of the heater like a cat, eat like a pig, and be as lazy as a dog.

I spent last New year cycling my butt off in Okinawa. I think this year I'll do it Japanese style. Meow! Pass the hot sake.

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About MrsMom

Just another Mom but trying my best to raise my two in the outback of Japan
This entry was posted in Japanese Festivals and Fun, Musings on Japan and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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