Christmas is coming everywhere. Of course, Christmas fanaticism is coming to Japan as well. Although most Japanese are not Christian, Christmas is still an big event in this country. For most westerners, normally Christmas is a day where family gathers up and spends time together. What else? Yes, traffic chaos... for example there's no public transport on Christmas day in London. No train, no bus literally NO way to go anywhere! This case in London is extreme, but much less public transport running during Christmas season in most western countries is not so convenient. In the meantime, you will see overwhelming amount of people in town in Tokyo on 25th of December as transport is running as usual in Japan. Plus, this is because how Japanese people spend Christmas in Japan is totally different from western countries. Here's why.
1. Japanese Christmas is for couples in love
Christmas in Japan is totally for young couples. All romantic restaurants are fully booked on both Christmas eve and Christmas day throughout Japan. All big cities like Tokyo are fully decorated with Christmas illuminations and provide a perfect mood for couples. We don't know exactly when it started, probably this trend has been formed during 60's and 70's as an usual commercial reason. As well as these, exchanging gifts also became popular. Santa used to come to my house when I was small. I clearly remember he came to our house every year driving a car of famous department store.
Actually interestingly enough, Christmas Eve is more important date than Christmas day in Japan. This is maybe thanks to a smash-hit song in 1983. Speaking of Christmas song in western countries, 'Last Christmas' by Wham or 'All I want for Christmas is you' by Mariah Carey should be one of most common. 'Christmas Eve' by Tatsuro Yamashita has been a standard tune for Christmas for more than 3 decades in Japan. If you're in Japan in December, you're definitely have a chance or two to listen to this song!
2. Eat KFC for Christmas
Japanese people eat 'Christmas barrel' from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not quite sure when this tradition of eating KFC on Christmas in Japan became common, but this still continues in 2017.
3. Celebrate with Christmas cake
All children want for Christmas is a present from Santa and...yes Christmas cake! Strawberry shortcake style cake is common for Japanese Christmas cake. For whom do not know what is strawberry short cake, this is a sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberry on on top. This kind of cake is most popular cake in Japan for many years and Japanese favourite choice for Christmas cake as well.
When you have a chance to spend Christmas in Japan, make sure of these things with your own eyes! Merry Christmas to all!