Christmas is less than a week away and I’m sure many of you in the Americas and Europe are looking forward to a (hopefully) relaxing day spent with family, good food and, of course, presents.
Here in Japan, Christmas seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year, but the flavor of the holiday is probably much different than it is abroad. For example, Christmas was originally popularized here as a holiday for couples to have a special night out in the city: have dinner at a fancy restaurant, exchange gifts and then spend the night together ‘celebrating’ at a hotel.
While still viewed as a ‘lover’s holiday’, Christmas has since spread to the household, with many families feasting on the now-traditional Japanese Christmas foods of cake and—thanks to an incredibly successful marketing campaign by KFC—fried chicken.
But for most Japanese families, the real holiday spirit is felt during the time around New Years. In fact, New Years is probably to Japan what Christmas is to the US and other Western countries.