Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some Christmas observations...

PB300025 I have not been able to write for a few days but believe me it was not for the lack of trying. As it happens Christmas season, as festive as it is in Tokyo, is not necessarily the best time of the year to relax in Japan - especially for those working for Japanese companies. See, Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan even though Japanese people do get a bit overboard with Christmas shopping and Christmas illuminations. I think the latter is mainly due to the fact that Japanese people seem to love lights in general. I mean, go to Shinjuku or Shibuya at night and you will see exactly what I mean. Of course you can alternatively watch any (Western made) movie that takes place in Japan - they usually make sure to show Shinjuku and/or Shibuya. Couple this with the traditional concept of Christmas lights and you get things like Caretta's Christmas decorations which are made up of literally thousands of LEDs. But I digress...

OK so a few observations on Christmas in Tokyo:

  1. Japanese people seem to love Christmas, even though an overwhelming majority (easily more than 90% I believe) are not Christians.
  2. Chicken seems to be the food of choice for Christmas in Japan and apparently KFC is really popular with huge lines forming on Christmas eve.
  3. Lights and Christmas trees abound - as I mentioned in the not-so-short intro.
  4. There are Christmas concerts some of which are your usual classical music fare (like Carol of the Bells) but some are Japanese singers singing songs with melodies that sound Christmas-y but with Japanese lyrics.
  5. Christmas is not a public holiday even though the 23rd of December was a holiday this year because it is the Emperor's birthday.
  6. Some foreign-owned companies or companies with lots of foreign employees seem to give the day off (like Berlitz for example).

I spent Christmas having dinner at home and watching two movies - "Bangkok Dangerous" on DVD (starts out pretty nicely but the ending is predictable and pretty anti-climactic if I may say so) and "Bridget Jones - Edge of Reason" on Wowow TV (I don't usually watch romantic comedies but there was nothing else to watch and I am glad I watched this. It is a very sweet and funny movie that does get a bit silly at times but it did actually make me regret not watching the first one.)

1 comment:

Betty said...

Hahaha, gotto love your KFC observation. :P Perhaps chicken is seen as the meal of Christmas because the smallest turkey would mean many meals of leftovers and Japanese are not into leftovers, frozen or otherwise? I can see people going to KFC because it's American and most Japanese homes would not have an oven, at least not one big enough to hold a whole chicken? Did you see any turkeys in supermarkets? I saw some in Hong Kong, in supermarkets located in upscale or more international neighbourhoods. But few people bought them still because it's rare to have an oven at home, never mind one big enough for a turkey.