Your Friend in Japan

Warm Christmas Wishes from Japan, and a New Trend in Anime

Written by HotAnime

Christmas is this Sunday, and all of us at J-List send you the warmest Makise Kurisumasu wishes, wherever you are in the world.

Christmas in Japan is a bit different from how it probably is in your country. For most Japanese, Christmas is a lot like Halloween, a foreign custom that’s fun to embrace, though not terribly close to Japan’s core culture. Like everyone, Japanese are subject to being influenced by corporate advertising messages, and just as our modern vision of Santa Claus is largely based on the iconic Coca Cola advertising of the 1930s, Japanese associate KFC with Christmas thanks to decades of clever advertising. When my kids were born I made it a point to make sure they loved Christmas as much as I do, and I indoctrinated them with American classics like It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown! and Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV specials, and we still love watching them together. Once Christmas is over, things get really busy in Japan, as everyone rushes to write New Years cards then clean their homes from top to bottom so they can enter the new year with a clean slate.

The year is drawing to a close, and with it, the current anime season, and as usual I’m rushing to get through the shows I’ve been following. One recent trend in anime has been to create spinoffs based on popular series from the past, an idea that was almost certainly suggested by the recent wave of American companies like Warner Bros. and Universal who have started funding anime. That’s why we have Brave Witches (spunoff from Strike Witches), a new generation of school idols with Love Live Sunshine!!, and now WWW.WORKING!!, a Working!! spinoff based on a web comic. The new series follows Daisuke, who starts working at a Wagnaria restaurant in northern Japan, where he meets an all-new cast of crazy characters who provide much entertainment. I had to chuckle when Yuta, one of the wait staff, happily received some of the meat that was expiring to take home. When my daughter worked at a shabu shabu restaurant, she used to bring up the just-expired meat from work every day, too, and we ate line kings.

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