Sunday, December 7, 2008

Japanese fascination with "American" Christmas

For the first several months that I lived in my current apartment in Japan (the only apartment I've lived in), I had no television. Eventually, I decided I wanted one and was able to get a great deal on a small used television through the Kansai Flea Market, a local English publication. I had to get basic cable in order to recieve any channels, but with basic cable comes no English programming or channels at all. Many folks I meet here have CNN, Discovery Channel, etc., but I have none of those. Sometimes I wish I did, but it's a good thing that I don't. I have only Japanese channels because I want to improve my Japanese listening skells. I fear that if I did indeed have those English channels, I would become lazy and at the end of the day only want to watch Larry Kng as opposed to stretching and pounding my grey matter like it was a bucket of Japanese mochi 餅 (rice cake).

Over the last week or two I've noticed a distinct pattern with many stories on Japanese news. Not hard-hitting news stories, but those "feel good" sort of stories.
I've noticed that Japanese people seem to have a very serious fascination with all things "American" about Christmas. There are constantly news stories with Japanese reporters standing in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, etc., looking at Christmas lights (or "illuminations" as they are called here) and discussing what American families do for Christmas. Ah well...I suppose we all have to have a hobby.

Christmas display in Sannomiya. Kobe, Japan (this afternoon).I like Santa swinging on Kobe a jolly Godzilla!

The Christmas/shopping spirit is in the air in Kobe and throughout Japan I'm sure. As I was kicking around downtown earlier this afternoon I saw countless throngs of shoppers out and about. Young women wearing Santa Claus-like outfits (but cut well above the knee) were handing out free tissue packets and shop keepers had happy if not somewhat crazed smiles on their faces.

We went to a store called Nitori this afternoon and bought our Christmas tree. It's a small one, but it does the trick. Nitori is Japan's answer to Ikea, but with more muted colors. It's a cool shop. If you're just moving to Japan and need some furniture and housewares at an affordable price, check the place out.

1 comment:

marlow said...

i'm going to nitori today actually... do people over in kobe all order KFC on xmas? cause over here in nagoya there is a line out the door and KFC usually completely runs out of chicken on xmas.