Domo Arigato, Santa Claus

Santa's Little Helper in Kyoto
Santa's Little Helper in Kyoto
Don’t worry. This isn’t the beginning of some treacly drudge about Christmas Around the World or anything like that. If you’ve been paying any attention at all you know that treacle is the farthest thing from my mind. Beer? Babes? Oh yeah, they clutter up my frontal lobes. But not treacle.

My good friend Rob Pongi, think of him as Japan’s answer to Nude Hippo’s producer only with more nudity, has been catching me up on Japanese Christmas traditions and I think it’s only fair that I share.

While many of them would be instantly recognizable to any Westerner, such as the Christmas tree, the gifts, the music (for the most part) and so on, there are others that seem to have spawned from some alien clime.

The decorated Godzilla on the front page would be a nice Example “A.”

Another Japanese tradition, which I think should immediately be adopted world wide, is where women dress sexy as hell and try to seduce men. I don’t know about you but that would put a boat load of jolly in my Ho Ho Ho’s. Certainly it would add a whole new dimension to the phrase “lay the gift under the tree.”

Yet another one would be the enslavement of innocent electric eels who are forced to power Christmas lights. Then they’re turned into soup

Reuters reports on this shocking trend.

An aquarium in Japan is shocking visitors with its Christmas display — using an eco-friendly electric eel to illuminate the lights on its holiday tree.

Each time the eel moves, two aluminum panels gather enough electricity to light up the 2-meter (6 ft 6 in) tall tree, decked out in white, in glowing intermittent flashes.

The aquarium in Kamakura, just south of Tokyo, has featured the electric eel for five years to encourage ecological sensitivity.

This year, it added a Santa robot that sings and dances when visitors stomp on a pad.
“We first decided to get an electric eel to light up a Christmas tree and its top ornament using its electricity,” said Kazuhiko Minawa, on the public relations team for the Enoshima Aquarium. “As electric eels use their muscles when generating a charge, we also thought to get humans to use their muscles to light up parts of the tree and power Santa.”

Visitor Sumie Chiba was fascinated with the display but questioned the practicality of eel energy for domestic use.

“If this was possible, I think it’s very nice and extremely eco-friendly,” she said.

Another minor difference would be the, almost , complete lack of any religious significance since Christians barely qualify as a minority in Japan. That helps explain why they have Hoeiosho, a Buddhist monk, distribute gifts to the children, instead of Santa Claus. After all, Santa’s based on the real life St. Nicholas who never visited any Asian countries. It also doesn’t help that his life story’s kind of a downer; parents die of the plague, prison time for preaching the Gospel, etc. Sure he did a lot of nice stuff but it’s still a depressing read.

So, Hoeiosho it is.

Anyway, back to the important stuff; hot little elves hoping to grab a ride on your sleigh. Colin Joyce from the Telegraph UK spent some time in Tokyo to try and understand, and maybe take advantage of, this development.

Get yourself a wonderful boyfriend by Christmas; Best Christmas date spots; Christmas for lovers – the magazine headlines tell the story: all a Japanese girl wants for Christmas is the perfect date.

In a country where less than one per cent of the population is Christian, Christmas has been reinvented as the most romantic time of the year.

For many Japanese women being taken to an expensive restaurant on Christmas Eve is a crucial indicator of success, while having to go shopping with female friends marks one as a “loser dog”, the Japanese equivalent of a Bridget Jones singleton.

As you can see, the stakes are high for Japanese women this time of year. No one wants to be the “loser dog” instead of the “happy reindeer.”

In case you want to help some Japanese woman have a joyful Christmas, there are cheap flights still available.

Who says these blogs aren’t helpful?

Related posts