Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in Japan

Merry Christmas everyone!

By special request from my dad I am going to take some time to make a quick post about what Christmas season in Japan is like. Here in Tokyo it is quite apparent from daily observation that there is much American influence for the Christmas season. This was apparently inherited from the post-war years from what I have heard. It is apparent that the Japanese people really enjoy Christmas, or at least the Americanized Non-Christian ‘Material-mas’ version. Although they do not get Christmas day off, they do get Emperor’s birthday off on December 23rd. Just like America most major stores here began to play Christmas music as well as display Christmas advertisements in November. Merry Christmas or Merry X-Mas are most common in advertising. The Japanese do not seem to have a problem with saying ‘Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays’. Many city areas have Christmas lights as well as trees or wreaths.

Kodiara City

Mall near Shinjuku Station in Tokyo

I do want to note that many stores actually play spiritual Christian-themed Christmas music about Christ’s birth, which would probably be taboo in America these days! I have learned that there are some distinct features about Japanese Christmas that may seem amusing in the Western World. Apparently Kentucky Fried Chicken (or some form of fried chicken) is consumed on Christmas Day. Also, Christmas Eve is a day for ‘happiness’ and the exchanging of presents. Apparently the Japanese have a Buddhist monk equivalent to Santa Claus who gives gifts.

Chicken at Japanese 'Walmart'

Christmas Chicken Advertisement

'7-11' Style Gift Box

Around this time of year many expensive gift packs are seen in stores. Here in Japan the local ‘7-11’ has an expensive catalog containing various Christmas cakes, wines, and expensive food gift packs. In America to go to ‘7-11’ for a Christmas gift would be a joke, however here ‘7-11’ is seen in a different light! Of course this has been an excellent time to hand out gospel tracts to various people to explain the meaning of Christmas as well as invite people to our church. Our church did an in-house Christmas concert with close to twenty separate groups as well as a traditional Christmas Eve service!

Christmas Eve at Church

Christmas Eve Snacks at Church

Thank you for your prayers!

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