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20 OCT

Funny Facts about Japanese Christmas with Kimiko Deguchi

By Jeff Lichtenstein

Holiday is approaching soon.  I get asked these Christmas related questions very often. I am originally from Japan and have been living here in US over 23 years.   These questions are often like … “Do Japanese celebrate Christmas?”, “If so, what it’s like?”, “Is there a such thing as Santa?”  “Do children get presents?”  “Do you decorate a Christmas tree?”  Or often, children would ask me “Do Japanese homes have a chimney so that Santa can deliver presents to children?”

So, I thought I would talk about what Japanese Christmas is like, and yes, we celebrate Christmas.

In Japan, Christmas is more like an exciting event rather than a religious holiday.  Cities are decorated with plenty of lights and ornaments, Christmas trees are everywhere in department stores restaurants making the season of jolly.  It gets pretty cold in Japan in winter so it really is a winter wonderland in cities. Sort of like NYC.

In my family’s tradition, it was always a family time on the Christmas Eve.  I believe this apply to many.    As soon as December hits, people pre-order a Christmas cake.  YES, there is such a thing as “Christmas cake” and we must eat this on every Christmas.  Then, people pick up the cake they had ordered on the Eve or the 25th. These are the two days you see people in the trains and subways all have a “Christmas cake” box in their hand heading home.

Christmas trees are optional I would say, but never like the sizes we have it around here.  I think my family had a desktop size! Like a one foot tall that you can put on the dining table.   Remember, people do not live in big American size homes over there.

Santa and presents!  Yes, they both exists!  Children are so excited waking up on the Christmas day just like here.  However, they typically do not have all the presents from relatives, parents, brothers and sisters.  In most cases, you have ONE present and that is from you know who, the greatest Santa clause.

Funniest thing- people also pre-order Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner.  I am NOT joking!!!  It’s sort of like Valentine’s day= chocolate, Christmas dinner = KFC!   Every time I see KFC, it reminds me of Christmas and I know I am the only one around here who feels that way about KFC. Very interesting, hu?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm.


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