Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Passion Christmas

Christmas in Japan is much different than Christmas in the states. With less than 1 percent of the population being Christian there are no mangers, wise men, or baby Jesus wrapped in cloth. Not even a hint that to some it may exist. You see lots of bows, ribbons and tiny trees. You will hear Christmas music in stores, but most people have no clue what is being sung. And while I see very little Christmas in stores compared to what I am used to, according to expats that have been in Japan even a few years ago, there is double what used to be.

At our local grocery store there are signs everywhere for "Passion Christmas". Those two words just don't mix in my mind. After some googling, I have learned that Christmas here is about Christmas Cakes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and sex.

The Japanese are great lovers of festivals and celebrations, so it only makes sense that they would like Christmas. Christmas Eve is celebrated by eating a 'Christmas Cake', which the father of the family purchases on his way home from work. Stores all over carry versions of this Christmas cake and then reduce the price drastically on Christmas Day. This has resulted in an expression in which young girls are referred to as a 'Christmas cakes': marriageable until their 25th birthday and requiring heavy discounts to get married after their 25th birthdays.

A KFC Christmas Chicken Dinner has become quite popular. Some Japanese will make reservations for their "Christmas Chicken" ahead of time and then line up outside their local store to pick up their orders. Thanks to KFCs brilliant marketing effort, the Japanese believe that Westerners celebrate Christmas with a chicken dinner instead of ham, turkey or roasts.

Christmas in Japan is more like what us Westerners would call Valentine's Day. Presents will be flowers, stuffed animals and jewelry. Presents are reserved for those who we may have romantic feelings for or close friends. It is a time for boys and girls to reveal their affection for one another. Married couples (and I am sure many unmarried ones too) will book rooms at "love hotels", a very popular type of hotel in Japan where people go for just a few hours to have sex.

Passion Christmas... it had to have been thought up by a man.


Carey said...

Interesting information. It amazes me how different our worlds tend to be.

Christmas Hampers said...

Nice blog and nice to know, we all living in a same world but everyone has different way of celebrating Christmas.

OpenCage said...

Yes, I fell strangeness about it too.

Almost of all Japanese people think "Christmas" is a event of being got present or having cake at Cristmas Eve, maybe.