Holiday horrors

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mj-godzilla.jpgWhy does MJ look so horrified? Is it the giant glowing Godzilla towering over her in Shinjuku?

Or is it because it's only early November and stores around Tokyo are already putting up lavish, illuminated decorations for a holiday that isn't even recognised here?

Oh, wait. That's what horrifies me. MJ's probably just scared of Godzilla.

I hate commercial holidays. They aren't fun to participate in whether they are Western or Japanese. Bah, humbug.

Japan's economic bubble may have broken a decade ago, but holiday frenzy seems to have expanded as shops try to get people to spend their money. More holiday decorations put up earlier, more hype in the press, more promotional campaigns around Western holidays. Christmas Eve is date night when women hope for expensive showpiece jewelry from their partners. For Valentine's Day, women give chocolates; on March 14th, White Day, men distribute gifts to women. Mother's Day is all about pink carnations.

Japan has its own gift-giving traditions that are not linked to holidays. At the end of the year, you send gifts to people who did you a good turn--clients, friends, relatives. They may respond in kind with a gift of equal value. This is echoed with summer gifts, as well. For weddings, guests give money in specific denominations and the couple buys gifts for all their guests. For funerals, mourners receive a gift--often bath towels--in regard for their donations to the deceased's family.

Japan's official national holidays are so low key most people don't seem remember why we have the day off. Monday was Culture Day. There are no Culture Day decorations or presents. Later this month we celebrate Labor Thanksgiving Day. No big meals, no Labor Thanksgiving Day carols (that I know about, anyway), no rush to buy gifts.

I like making my own traditions as I please, so these holidays suit me just fine.

1 Comment

I agree!! In the begining of Oct. we had Christmas stuff in the same isle as the Halloween stuff. UGH!!! The toy commercials and ads have started and Thanksgiving is still two weeks away. I try to teach my children the true meaning of the Christmas Holiday but with all the hype it is a hard sell.

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  • Heidi: I agree!! In the begining of Oct. we had Christmas read more