Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas in Japan: Christmas Cake and a Romantic Date

Although the Japanese love Christmas trees, traditional songs like "silent night" and much of the decorative aspects of Christmas, don't expect anyone to gather with family, go to Church or sing carols. It's all about Christmas cake and a romantic date.

So what do the Japanese do on Christmas? Why they eat Christmas cake on Christmas Eve and single people go out to a romantic dinner, much the way young couples in the West do on Valentines Day.

Nobody really seems to know how this all became a part of modern Japanese culture, but one website claims that there were western style bakeries which catered to Americans after the war, and one popular choice (and perhaps understood by the Japanese as being uniquely "western") was sponge cake. This may have been the origin of this uniquely Japanese tradition of eating Christmas cake on Christmas Eve.

One down side is that many young, single Japanese women without a steady boyfriend feel terribly alone and forgotten on Dec. 24.

One wished that the true spirit of Christmas prevailed, instead of this odd, cultural simulacrum with all its intense social pressure. The women should know that - date or no date - this is a real day of joy; the day when their savior was born in Bethlehem. These women are loved and not alone! Merry Christmas everyone!

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