I live in Japan.
Christmas is practically non-existent.
Sure, the stores still have all the sales. Some houses put up lights (I counted five this year). And the department stores have all the sales.
But it's just not Christmas.
First off, everyone works.
I'm on break at work writing this, and its Christmas Eve.
After work, I most likely will do some last minute Christmas shopping.
I wanted to do Christmas up right this year, but after having just recuperated from a bronchial infection that kicked my ass for two months, a flu bug, and a bout of pink eye before that, oh, and having put my back out for a week, I really had nothing in me to give.
All this on top of being financially strapped from paying back loans for a last minute trip to America back in May. So presents are meek this year. One per person. Nothing fancy.
We don't even have a Christmas tree. There's no decorations up. For the most part, it's just a normal day in Japan.
And so tonight I will go home, have dinner, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and I might get a not in return.
Although, I might make a midnight run to 7/11 to buy an Xmas cake and a cheap bottle of wine. A popular tradition in Japan. Oh, and KFC is half off today because, well, Japanese think foreigners eat fried chicken on Xmas.
This morning, for five classes, I shocked my students by telling them we don't have Xmas cake in the U.S. and KFC is not the dinner choice for most Westerners. They were stunned. No Xmas cake?!
I usually inform them that we have fruitcake, but it's not really the same thing. In fact, it's pretty much... well... evil. Like, if cake hated you and wanted you to know it. Fruitcake is cake's revenge against the human race, as far as I'm concerned.
So like most Japanese people, I will follow the adage--when in Rome do as the Romans do--and work, eat my Xmas cake, open presents in the morning and then wish everyone fun as they head off to work, because I will be taking the day off.
Because it's Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone!