• 24 . 12 . 05
  • I was sitting in McDonalds before listening to a weird techno and drum and bass Christmas medley and couldn’t help thinking Christmas isn’t going to be much fun this year. There’s 100x more snow and cold and generally wintry weather than England here (I found myself in the novel position of having to de-ice my […]

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White And Blue Christmas

I was sitting in McDonalds before listening to a weird techno and drum and bass Christmas medley and couldn’t help thinking Christmas isn’t going to be much fun this year. There’s 100x more snow and cold and generally wintry weather than England here (I found myself in the novel position of having to de-ice my bike with hot water yesterday; the brakes, bell and wheels were all frozen and there were icicles coming off the frame!), but tellingly there’s 100x less feeling. Japanese people don’t do Christmas properly. They play at having Christmas decorations and having Christmas carols, but nobody really cares about it. Now, I’m not religious and you could argue that I don’t usually do Christmas properly, but at least for me it’s a time for family and friends and appreciating what you have. The Japanese are far more interested in New Year and don’t get excited about Christmas in the way that the Gaijin do. Of course, I can’t complain that they don’t celebrate my holiday (I barely even know when Ramadan or Diwali is, for example), but the problem is, their lack of anticipation kind of takes away our enjoyment of it. You wouldn’t believe how many conversations here recently have started with “It really doesn’t feel like Christmas, does it?”

Buying Christmas presents, which I used to love, also isn’t as fun or satisfying as it should be because you always have to think about how you’re going to send it home. The result is what I fear to be a pretty lame selection. And I know Christmas isn’t about the presents, but it’s still disappointing. Plus, because nobody’s talking about what presents they’re buying for people, I bought them late again this year, so they won’t even arrive on time. But maybe this is just a new excuse for an old habit.

Having to work on Christmas Day itself is the kicker. How can you get excited about a day which after all is just another day at work? A big indicator to me is when the countdown of days in my head is to the 28th, when I go snowboarding, instead of the 25th. Anyway, I have friends here who are in the same position, so I guess we’ll make the best of it. I got some lights for the apartment and a heater so at least I watch the snow fall in warmth. And I did get a great card (below), hand-drawn by one of my Japanese teachers to symbolise the coming Chinese Year of the Dog. But in the future, I’d definitely prefer to be home at this time of year.