Today is Christmas Eve.
In many ways X-mas and New Years are exact opposites of each other in Japan and Western countries.
In Western countries, Xmas is the biggest holiday of the year with the post office busy delivering Xmas cards, many stores are closed and families gather to enjoy a big dinner together and give gifts to children.
And then New Years is celebrated on New Years Eve and quietly ends the next day.
In Japan, it’s the other way around.
Here, Christmas is often celebrated in Xmas Eve by couples going on a date and families having a dinner of chicken and Xmas cake for dessert (just as many people have this dinner on Xmas Day as do on Xmas Eve). But Xmas ends quietly and people get ready for New Years…Japan’s biggest holiday.
Just like Xmas in the West, in Japan New Years is the biggest holiday of the year with the post office busy delivering 年賀状 (New Years postcards), many stores are closed and families gather to enjoy a big dinner together and give gifts (お年玉) to children.
Click here to read the post I wrote about Japanese Xmas last year.
Also, yesterday was 天皇誕生日 (the Emperor of Japan’s birthday).
Christmas isn’t a legal holiday in Japan…it’s a regular work / school day, but the Emperor’s birthday is a legal holiday.
It’s also one of the only two times a year that the public is allowed inside the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace (the other time is just after the New Year).
People who go into the Palace grounds can see the Japanese Royal Family and hear the Emperor give his annual birthday speech.
Last year, I wrote a post about the Emperor’s birthday too. Click here to read it.
Completely unrelated, but I heard about a website called 「美人時計」 (“Beautiful Girl Clock“).
It show a new photograph every minute of a pretty girl in the Tokyo holding a board with the current time (of course in Japanese Standard Time (JST)).
This site is extremely popular. So they decided to make another version…now there’s a 「ギャル時計」 (“Gal Clock“) too.
“Gal” is a type of 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo) girl fashion.