Japan Christmas is… 日本のクリスマスは。。。

It was the very first Christmas that I spent away from my sisters and mom EVER, and the second one Kyle spent away from his. In Japan, Shinto and Buddhism are the main religions. In fact, together they’re kinda a really intricate and complex religious system here. Most people don’t practice the religion itself, but more have had it ingrained into their culture. Either way, for Christmas, we were in a culturally different part of the world. BUT they love America, they love holidays, and even more, they do love Christmas; just not in the same way that we Americans love it. So, I’m gonna do my own version of

CHRISTMAS IS…

Written and Illustrated by Tori Sharpe

Christmas is…

CHRISTMAS CAKE

And…

CHRISTMAS DINNER

Boys and girls and moms and dads,
all gather round for a meal to be had!
Inside of store windows and dessert shops too,
Pre-order a cake and a meal, made just for you!
My students all tell me that these foods are a staple,
but the Christ being born on this day in a stable?
It’s only for tradition that they do anything,
even Japanese pop-stars have Xmas songs that they sing.

Christmas is…

THE BOUNENKAI, or end of the year party. (note: actual time may not be ON Dec 24/25 but is considered a part of the Christmas season. This is my futsal team)

And…

MAKING SOBA for parties.

And…

MORE BOUNENKAIS. (This one's for Aoyama, the local bar we frequent)

The Japanese people, work super hard,
these parties, free tickets to act like a tard.
Whisky, tequila, and beer all mixed up,
it’s also a  custom to fill your friend’s cup.
One slight correction to my previous statement,
the alcohol is consumed, not together but adjacent.
These people are like fish drinking spirits like water,
Tori now has a tolerance, mamma’d be proud of her daughter!
These parties are for things beyond ones place of employment,
bands, shops, and soccer have their own for enjoyment!
This year Tori had FOUR every night in a row,
she now has a cold, and her head’s a bit slow.

Christmas is…

WINTER DECORATIONS

And…

CHRISTMAS STYLE JAPANESE FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS

And…

GOING ON DATES

You know Christmas is coming when you walk into stores,
and the ghosts and the pumpkins aren’t there anymore.
Instead there are lights, small wreaths,  Santa-san,
the first of November, begins Japan’s Christmas fun.
Inside their houses they have Christmas displays,
with flowers and sparkles to see every day.
In the States Christmas time is reserved for your family,
but here it’s for lovebirds to give gifts and some candy.
During this time, people get braver,
approaching their crushes with hopes of a favor.
To spend Christmas day with them as their darling,
spouting poetry and song that tug on the heart string.

Christmas is…

FRIENDS DRESSING UP THEIR PETS (Chiharu's pet Ma-chan)

And…

DRESSING UP YOUR OWN PET (Oh! Cecil)

As you may know, Japan loves ALL cute things,
however degrading for the pet it might mean.
So we jumped on the bandwagon and dressed Cecil right up,
though not quite as cute but just shy of the pup.
Kimi’s and Stacy’s whole family he met,
who were really excited at the sight of our pet!

Christmas is…

SNOW ON CHRISTMAS EVE (in the Tohoku region anyway)

And…

SLEEPOVERS (All the futons and blankets on our living room floor, Kimberly Skyping her family)

Since Christmas is celebrated so differently here,
we did what we could to spread Christmas cheer.
We imagined the Christmases that we wished would be white,
and looked out our window at the beautiful sight.
So, on Christmas Eve we opened one gift,
any woes from this year would instantly lift.
We slept on the floor, watched “A Christmas Story”,
fell asleep nice and toasty all ready for morning.

Christmas Morning is…

CHRISTMAS MORNING STOCKINGS!

And…

A FIRE, CHRISTMAS MUSIC, A CHRISTMAS TREE (in HD with music in the background)

The stockings were hung above the HD fire with care,
but once shoved with goodies no longer fit there.
We saw Santa-san had come for a visit,
when we dumped out our stocking to see what was in it.
Just like old times there were candy and toys,
there were games and some cute things for all girls and boys.

Christmas Morning is…

KIMBERLY OPENING PRESENTS

And…

STACY OPENING PRESENTS

And…

TORI OPENING PRESENTS

And…

KYLE OPENING PRESENTS

Kyle played Santa for the rest of the day,
from youngest to oldest we opened presents this way.
There were many surprises that none of us guessed,
great gifts and great company, we surely felt blessed.
We all missed our families at this holiday,
but our family in Hiro was more than okay.

Christmas Day is…

HITTIN THE SLOPES

And…

RIDIN FOR BABY JESUS

No place that sold turkey, American dinner we must,
So, Pizza Hut pick-up with cheesy filled crust!
Kimi in her PJ’s and Stacy’s blanket in her lap,
had just settled down for a Christmas Day nap.
Kyle and I grabbed our boards and our gear,
left right for the mountain to spread more Christmas cheer.
First Christmas in Japan was really quite great,
for new years time, I really can’t wait!

Our Tree

Christmas is…

the people not places,
the joy you can see in your friend’s smiling faces.
It’s the hugs and the comfort through family on Skype,
it’s the songs and the laughter of the season’s great hype.
So, thanks baby Jesus for the fun of this day,
I hope all my Christmases are much like today.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

メリークリスマス!!

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