Skip to main content


That, for those who don't know, says "meri kurisumasu" which is the romanji spelling of "Merry Christmas".

The presents, if you recall the previous image of the tree I put up have, uh, multiplied.

And here is where I would like to get some mushy stuff out of the way before I bring in the funny.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend the holidays with your family, be very grateful for that. Even if Great Uncle Ned chews with his mouth open or your Aunt Sally persists in showing you pictures of her dozen cats over and over again, they're still your family. And you don't really realize what not being around them is like until, well, you're not. So to all of you at home, from the bottom of my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Go enjoy the holidays with family and friends: live it up! Relax over break! Eat too much! Curl up with a good book, stare at the light of a Christmas tree...just enjoy being together. That's what it's all about, after all.


OK! Mushy out of the way! Now, I'd like to regale you with some...tales of Christmas in Japan (dun dun dunnnn).

The easiest way to say it is this: Japan has commercial Christmas down like an ART FORM. Starting in December the malls all busted out their Christmas decorations and started promoting shamelessly. At some level it makes sense; I mean, Japan is not a predominantly Christian society. (They do have Christians, but most of them are in Kyuushuu, the southernmost island) So to them, Christmas is just a big party. That's what most people will be doing on either Christmas Eve or Christmas: having a party with family and/or friends. They'll eat Christmas cake (that's the thing here, to eat Christmas's usually a shortcake or something) and their Christmas meal of choice.

Just for kicks, I'd like all of you fine people to take a guess at what the Christmas meal of choice is. Go on!

Keep guessing...

Alright. The Christmas meal of choice in Japan is this:
Look familiar? Surprised? I was too. I asked my Japanese teacher WHY, for the love of God, KFC would be the Christmas meal of choice, and she said that the Japanese have this image of foreigners/Americans eating turkey at the holidays. Since the Japanese don't eat turkey, they eat chicken instead. And what's the most foreign chicken you can get? KFC. I think they've got their holidays mixed up. Anyways, lots of my friends will be eating KFC for Christmas dinner (I asked them). I will not, partially because we'll be in Okinawa and we didn't make reservations for our chicken bucket ('s so popular you need to RESERVE it) and a long time ago I told my host mother I didn't like KFC. Which is true, I think it's greasy and generally unappetizing. But it's really popular here.

That's pretty much Christmas here. It's a "one night thing". They have Christmas lights,
but as soon as Christmas Day is over, SHOOP, they come down. After that, it's time to prepare for New Year's which is the big holiday here. Lots of cleaning and specific food to be made. It should be fun.

So I'm going to wrap this up and go pack for my three-day vacay to Okinawa (whoot, 70 degree weather oh yeah!). My first warm Christmas. So I won't have computer access until I get back late on the 27th. Then I'll give you guys a big post about whatever went down.

So, Merry Christmas everyone! Holiday wishes acomin' at you from Japan!


  1. Happy Holidays, Claire! I'm looking forward to seeing you when you return.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
Read 3+ books in a single day--check
Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

Final Touring Excursions

Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
The other cats often ran around chasing each other (one was a very energetic kitten, so he was always pouncing on the others) or flopping down to be pet in co…