Christmas in Japan is celebrated differently to those of Christian countries because there is no religious undertone to the festivities; it’s all about enjoying the traditions associated with the holiday. Since it’s not a national holiday, the young still go to school and it’s a regular working day, but salarymen will stop by a bakery to buy a Christmas cake for his family. This cake is quite different from its European counterparts. Instead of the rich fruitcake topped icing or marzipan, it is simply a spongecake decorated with whipped cream, strawberries, and various seasonal fruits.
There might be a fake Christmas tree made of metal and plastic in the living room – there being no market for real ones in the country – and the decorations will be a mixture of store-bought items and hand-folded origami. Because Christmas coincides with the winter bonus given to workers by their companies, parents get the chance to get expensive presents like cellphones for their family.
You might notice that in shoujo anime or manga, there will be a Christmas episode devoted to exploring the main character’s feelings for their partner. That’s because Christmas is a romantic event for the young Japanese. If New Year is the time to be with the family, Christmas is the day for young couples and romance. Hotels and restaurants arrange for special packages for lavish romantic dinners and other amusements like concerts. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony serves as the unofficial Christmas theme in Japan, and gets played regularly. Bounenkai figure in many a Japanese’s event calendars. These bounenkai are mainly drinking parties celebrated by companies and different interest groups to forget the problems they encountered during the year. Some people might find celebrating Christmas in Japan is too commercial, but the spirit of gaiety and fun for the season outweighs all these objections. Because in the end, Christmas is all about the spirit of happiness all over the world!
[tags]Christmas in Japan, Christmas Cake, Bounenkai[/tags]