How do we celebrate Christmas in Japan? クリスマスの過ごし方 Kaede Sugano (LXX)

Many streets, buildings and stores are decorated with twinkling festive lights during the holiday season in Japan. As you no doubt already know, Christmas is originally the annual Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and a widely observed holiday around the world. However, Christmas Day is not a national holiday in Japan.
Christmas in Japan is a little different from Christmas in western countries. Traditionally faiths such as Buddhism and Shinto are practiced in Japan, but usually people here enjoy celebrating Christmas regardless of their religion. (Of course, there are some people who are more strict about religion.) Christmas in Japan is more like a festival and a commercial matter for many people, rather than a sacred event.

Important Christmas food for most Japanese are cake and chicken. Usually cakes are not homemade but purchased, typically by fathers on their way home from work. Some people, however, order very luxurious cakes from famous hotels, while others just buy them at convenience stores.
Fried chicken, especially Kentucky Fried Chicken now enjoys increased popularity, boosted by its good image on TV commercials. At Christmas, many people eat not only roasted but also fried chicken these days, in contrast to people eating turkey, roast beef and so on in western countries.

Instead of decorating a real fir tree, people adorn fairly small, pretty and colorful artificial trees with ornaments - a practical choice for small Japanese houses.
Some couples stay at really luxurious hotels, or enjoy a meal at a restaurant, and exchange expensive gifts, such as watches and scarves and jewelry.
On the other hand, some people still retain a childlike festive wonder, filling stockings with presents and saying they are from Santa Claus. The presents are, however, generally Nintendo games, digital cameras, computerized animal toys and so on. It seems like kids’ presents these days are mostly electrical goods.




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