It’s Christmas Eve. Christmas Day begins in less than two hours. But unlike my Christmases in Canada, the ones I’ve had in Japan just don’t feel like Christmas. Not in the same way.
Yes, I have family here. We have presents, though mainly for kids. We have a Christmas dinner. There are Christmas parties. There are Christmas decorations, and even some people cover their houses with lights. Christmas music is all over the place. There are some Christmas TV shows. What’s not the same? What’s not Christmas?
Well, in Japan, Christmas is all commercial. It’s not so much about family, it’s more for the children. It’s not a holiday, so people work. The big difference is that the build-up to Christmas just isn’t there. Well, there is a build-up, but in a totally different way. And the strange thing is that the day after Christmas, all decorations are gone. They’re replaced by New Year’s decorations. New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday in Japan, so that’s understandable. It overshadows Christmas in a big way.
There are many differences between a Canadian Christmas and a Japanese Christmas. And these are things I miss a lot.
- Christmas dinner – Turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. In Japan, it’s Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- Focus on family – In Japan, the focus is on kids.
- The relaxing feeling – It’s not relaxing in Japan. It’s basically a day like any other day.
- The Christmas spirit – People get into Christmas in Canada. Not so much in Japan. It’s not very important.
- The TV shows – I miss the Garfield, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and Frosty Christmas specials.
- Sitting around the Christmas tree – Some people do this in Japan, but it isn’t a major thing.
I think the biggest difference is the anticipation. During December, everyone is anxiously waiting for their holiday to start and spend time with their family. This happens here in Japan, but for New Year’s Day. It’s just a different kind of celebration.
Ever spend Christmas in another country or culture?