1.) They play ALL Christmas Songs
My dad used to complain about this, but during the Christmas season most places only play Christmas songs about Santa or reindeer. How many times can you play “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nose Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells”?
Some of my parents’ favorite songs were the ones about Three Kings and “Silent Night”. However, most places never play those during Christmas. They want the more commercial ones.
Japanese stores will play any Christmas song, including the very Christian ones. I suspect they don’t know the difference. (I have heard them play rap songs with heavy cursing and sexual innuendos inside of kid’s stores. I think they just hear ‘pretty sound’.)
Still, it makes me nostalgic and I really like it.
(Except for the fact that they play “Last Christmas I gave you my heart” all the damn time. It’s the most played Xmas song in Japan. Make it stop! 😦
2.) They Go ALL out on the Christmas Decorations
I suspect it’s not for religious reasons (there are very few Christians in Japan), but they seem to have fallen head over heels with the decorations of Christmas. I saw model gingerbread houses in the MUJI stores.
They had different houses set up in a village and the Japanese were ooing and awing over it. The Japanese men looked the most excited. One guy bought the whole set and took several pictures of the village, eager to set it up just like that. So I think gingerbread house is about to become an art form in Japan.
( I imagine we will see Gingerbread Pagodas soon… )
As I mentioned they’re getting super into their Christmas light displays and can’t seem to set up enough jolly. Even Christmas trees are getting popular here.
And I saw Black Friday sales at stores for the first time so I think they can’t find enough holidays in the west to satisfy their appetitite. They want MORE.
This has all happened in a very short span of time. A few years ago it was rare to find a store with Christmas decorations in Japan. Now it’s rare to find one without.
It won’t be long before they set their sights on Easter — holiday with a cute bunny and colorful eggs? Oh, they’re coming for you!
3.) How Santa Delivers Presents
Severals Japanese have described to me how Santa delivers presents to good children. It’s hilarious. Since chimneys are uncommon in Japan, he creeps into their house and places the presents next to the sleeping child’s head. The next morning they wake up to their presents (actually delivered by the parents).
If it were me, I’d be like “Wait… WHO was in my room watching me sleep? Santa saw me sleeping?!”
But maybe that’s just me?