A friend of mine at a Christmas dinner asked me, “Do you celebrate Christmas in Japan?” My answer was, “YES, very much! But commercially.”
Every year I read a lot of comments that criticize the commercialization of the Christmas period in New Zealand. They would be astounded to know we have all of those Christmassy things in Japan, too, where only 1% of the population identify themselves as Christian.
So why do we celebrate Christmas? Because we love events and festivals. We welcome any reason to get together and have fun with family and friends. Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day, is the big thing in Japan. I used to buy KFC for my family, which is quite common. Another must for many families is to order a Christmas cake, which is typically a sponge with white cream icing and some strawberries on top.
Young men book a city hotel room to spend a romantic Christmas-themed night with their girlfriends. Though hotels promote special Christmas packages for couples, it can be a headache for many hotels as they need to clean up the mess. The worst is artificial snow squirted from spray can all over.
So you won’t miss a thing about Christmas if you are in Japan. You can even have a white Christmas in colder areas. Hold on…we don’t have Christmas parades except at theme parks such as Disneyland!