Monday, April 26, 2010

Christmas Eve - Sapporo Style

24th December, 2004 - I arrived into Sapporo on Christmas Eve... actually the weather in Japan had been a bit of a nightmare in the days preceding, and there had been many days when New Chitose Airport had been closed. Thankfully, this was not one of those days. I was re-united with T-chan (after too many weeks), and also her wonderful family. My mood had lifted.

Many people ask, what is Christmas in Japan - and that's both an easy and difficult question to answer. In my opinion Christmas is great in Japan... for starters - I can experience a white Christmas (at least in Sapporo)... unlike the hot, dry days we get back in Adelaide.

It's a consumer occasion - and let's face it... some consumerism can be  YUMM-O! One tradition that's developed around Christmas in Japan is the Christmas Cake (kurisumasu ke-ki). It's generally a light sponge cake that's beautifully decorated with cream and edible delights (who can eat Father Christmas though?). I found that Japanese cakes whilst they look like they should be super-rich are generally refreshingly light flavoured. Unfortunately they're just too small for me! ?;-)

There are few if any religious over-tones to Christmas. It's a consumer time of year, most often celebrated as a romance occasion for young couples. However, more and more there is a cultural inclusion of Christmas in Japan - without the Christian core. New Years Day in Japan is much closer to Christmas in the West - with a focus on family gathering.

We certainly had the whole family gathered for tonight, and it was as much a re-union as it was Christmas. Nihon no ke-ki... hisashiburi desu ne! Ittadakimasu.

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