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Christmas blues in Japan: Does it happen to you?

Life of a foreigner in Japan is not all about learning Japanese or eating sushi. After you get used to everyday life, it is very easy to stuck in a rut. The only exception is that you are thousands of miles away from your family and old friends. If you are lucky enough, you get to meet them at Christmas.Christmas bluesBut what if you couldn’t book a flight home? The holiday blues will kick off unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. It may strike you despite all the Christmas stuff and “Jingle bells” along with Lennon’s”Happy Xmas” at Starbucks. Actually, it may strike BECAUSE of them. It’s the beginning of December already, and Tokyo is glittering and sparkling like a glass of champagne again.Christmas bluesIt may be not so obvious for Japanese people, but after all, for us Westerners Christmas is about getting together and hugging the loved ones. Preparations for the holidays, choosing and installing the New Year tree, putting presents under it, drinking hot eggnog late at night and talking, sharing the memories, catching up with each others lives…Christmas bluesIn Tokyo all this is replaced by visiting illuminations and having dates at fancy restaurants. It can baffle foreigners.  Here in Japan Christmas became a replica of Valentine’s Day (チョコレートの日, or “Chocolate Day”), and Japanese people sometimes call it クリスマスケーキの日 (“Christmas Cake Day”). It makes the holiday season even sadder, as there are no real values behind the tinsel. It is not possible in a non-Christian country, isn’t it? The Japanese New Year and its traditions is another story, but meeting only my husband’s family (the ones who live in vicinity of Tokyo) does not make the spirits bright. Anyway, it is so much better than nothing!Christmas blues

Article by Olga Kaneda

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