Tis the season!

Tis the season!

One of the many surprises that I had during my first year in Japan was the popularity of Christmas. It’s everywhere! Everyone loves it. Who wouldn’t? All the lights, decorations, presents… Ahhhh. It’s cold here in the winter too! We may even have a white Christmas this year. (That’d be my first.)

Wait a minute…

Yes, Christmas is here, but there are some differences. First of all, it doesn’t feel the same. Yeah, Christmas doesn’t have that same magic feel as it did when I was a kid. And nowadays, a common occurrence is people trampling each other for a new piece of poorly manufactured gadget.

But at Christmas time, the feeling changes. People change. And that’s what’s missing. Christmas is here, but it’s ‘fun’. It’s not a time for thinking about others or helping those less fortunate. It’s just fun. It’s a work day too. Bleh! (I’m off though. Woo hoo!)

Roast turkey Fried chicken

My first Christmas in Japan was a sad and lonely time. I missed all the traditions, the cartoon specials and the decorations. I was happy when I heard that my Japanese friends (I had a grand total of 5 at the time) wanted to have a Christmas party. Someone else supplied the food. I can’t remember if I brought anything. (I had such bad manners!) Much to my surprise, we had KFC. Yep! Kentucky Fried Chicken. I thought perhaps that it was their best attempt to mimic a “real” Christmas dinner. Hey, it’s american and it’s a bird! I later found out that it is a huge traditions here. One that resulted from a KFC campaign years ago.

I’m sorry, do you have a reservation?

The week of Christmas here is weird. Well, as far as KFC is concerned. You need a reservation. You can’t get any food there unless you reserved food a week or two in advance! They close the whole restaurant! And when you make a reservation, you have to specify when you will come pick it up. And they have limited spaces available! Needless to say, the first time I thought about buying chicken on my own was a failure. I didn’t have a reservation. You can’t even eat at the restaurant! I was very surprised when I went in and they said, “I’m sorry. We don’t have any chicken.”

Peace in Japan

Politics of late, in America, has caused me to scratch my head. One of the things is Christmas symbols in schools or public places. Japan is not a Christian country. It’s not even very religious, for that matter. But symbols of Christmas are everywhere. And the word “Christmas” too. Once in awhile you’ll see “Xmas.”

None of this bothers anyone. They don’t see it as an encroachment on their rights. They don’t see it as bad behavior. They don’t see it as some one trying trying to force something on them. They just enjoy it, or if it doesn’t concern them, they don’t pay attention to it. There’s a peace in not being angry at people.

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