The Christmas holiday means different things to different people around the world. Japan is by and large a nation of Buddhist and Shinto values, some so deeply integrated into society that people here don’t consciously think about themselves in terms of religion. Having an omamori luck charm in the car, or a Buddhist altar in the home, just feels obvious or あたりまえ (atari-mae), and doesn’t necessarily link to any devout religious beliefs. It’s religion without religion, much like how having a Christmas Tree doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a Christian.
Since Christmas doesn’t have a long history in Japan, especially compared to the West, it tends to be a lot more “show” than anything else. It’s not even a holiday–just another ordinary day at work. However, Santa still brings gifts to many little girls and boys, just like in other countries around the world. Families may even decorate a Christmas tree together and eat Christmas cake. Friends gather for Christmas parties, and couples make reservations at restaurants for romantic dinners. The streets of Tokyo are shining bright with sparkling LED decorations while stores play our favorite festive songs, like Christmas Eve by Tatsuro Yamashita, Santa-san by Momoiro Clover Z, and endless loops upon loops of Last Christmas by Wham!. And of course, don’t forget to reserve your bucket of KFC! Yes, the commercialization of Christmas is very much a part of the holiday spirit here in Japan, just like in America.
Amazingly, just a week later comes perhaps the most important of official Japanese holidays, お正月 (Oshogatsu, New Year’s Day). It’s a holiday reserved for family, with people traveling back to their hometown to spend time with their parents, brothers and sisters. You will see New Year’s decorative wreaths hung on doors and festive displays in the foyers of their homes, like the 鏡モチ (kagami mochi), one of the more famous decorations made of decorated pressed rice. At the break of New Year’s Day, families will travel to their local shrine or temple for 初詣 (Hatsumode), to wish for a bright new year filled with good fortune.
The food of the holiday is お節料理 (Osechi-ryouri), a kind of festive bento box that should only be eaten during New Years. Traditionally made by loving mothers and grandmothers, today you can reserve pre-made ones online or even at convenience stores. This year even Amazon is getting in on the action (what WON’T Amazon do, seriously). The days following Oshogatu are like Japan’s version of Black Friday, too, with super New Year sales and fukubukuro lucky bags. Of course we participate in that tradition at J-List, too.
The Free-to-Play game Crystal Maidens has just released on Nutaku.net! The world of the Crystal Maidens has been invaded by a powerful wizard that subjugates and controls the minds of young maidens to do his bidding. When players find themselves shipwrecked after a war against a dark force, the adventure begins on a strange island with a mysterious portal and an alluring stranger. With the help of magical crystals and a harem of beautiful women, a hero must rise to battle through lush forests, deserts, and snowy peaks in the quest to destroy evil and liberate the maidens of the world.
For a limited time get 10x J-List Points all throughout the holiday season! Each day is a different deal, so be sure to check back to see what’s on sale next. This weekend you will see deals on everything in our Home & Traditional category (like bento and home decor) on Saturday, fluffy and cute plushies on Sunday, and all our manga on Monday!
PLUS for all the hentai lovers out there, we’re giving an additional 10x J-List Points on a recommended male adult toy every single day until Christmas! Be sure to check back to see what we have waiting for you…