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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas is for Lovers?

The Japanese have confused Christmas with Valentine's Day, according to this Telegraph article. Whereas Valentine's Day has apparently been confused with International Platonic Love Day, but that's another post in itself.

According to the Telegraph, Christmas in Japan has become the most romantic holiday of the year. So, instead of walking past scenes of the Baby Jesus lying in a manger or singing Christmas carols about the salvation of mankind, the average Japanese woman spends the Christmas holidays wearing slinky kimonos and trying to hook up with the attractive guy from the office. Only in Japan will you find greetings cards with the tag line, "Merry Christmas, you sexy beast!"

This sort of confusion is apparently common in Japan, where, again according to the Telegraph, a department store once put up a display of Father Christmas crucified on a cross. No word on how the reindeer and elves were dealt with.

A successful Christmas for a Japanese woman is getting taken out to the most expensive restaurant in town. An unsuccessful Christmas is being forced to spend Christmas Eve shopping with girlfriends, which gets one marked as a "loser dog?" I guess all the loser dogs hang out together, then. Well, at least they don't get called "pig dogs".

Japan is only 1% Christian, so I suppose these sorts of misunderstandings are bound to happen, but it does make the commericalisation and secularisation of Christmas in the U.S. and U.K. look positively Franciscan in comparison.

After all, how many British cities and municipalities can make the claim that their streets are simultaneously filled with Christmas decorations, lights, and thousands of young women on the make? I mean besides Soho.


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