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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Japanese Christmas is crazy and weird

Japanese traditional Christmas. Probably.
In Japan, Christmas is not celebrated that much since there are almost no Christians here (half a percent of the population or so). It is considered a great chance to do something fun, so it is celebrated in the way people believe Westerners celebrate Christmas. This belief is mainly based on what people have seen in Hollywood movies.
Christmas food
One common way to celebrate Christmas is to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken. In fact, KFC is so strongly connected with Christmas that you cannot eat at KFC on Christmas without booking in advance. And there are huge lines outside KFC with people who have booked.
Christmas present
An acceptable alternative to KFC is fried chicken in general, or roasted chicken. I had some roasted chicken last night, and it was good. My theory is that the thinking is Western world = U.S.A. American Christmas = turkey, turkey is a bird, chicken is also a bird, chicken = Christmas food.
My friend was dressed as "Christmas Marilyn Monroe". He had also bought an underwear set to wear underneath, but discovered that it was completely see through and decided to wear normal underwear instead. At least in the beginning.
Christmas is also celebrated as a "date night" in Japan. If you have a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband, you should go on a date on Christmas Eve. In general, you should eat expensive Western food, mainly French or Italian food. This means it is impossible to get a table at any good French or Italian restaurant on the 24th; they are all fully booked well in advance.
Another guy, trying to hide his beard. Very ungirly shoes, though.
Marilyn Monroe had managed to find high heels almost large enough for men to wear.
Since this is a night for couples, people who are not part of a couple feel left out. Some places hold special "Christmas party for lonely people", and I went to one last year. I went to one this year too. My friend who works there was very sure that he would not be lonely anymore this year, so they would not be having such a party again, but as things turned out he is still very lonely.
When I showed up, it turned out that every other man in the place was dressed in women's clothing. I am not sure that this is a Japanese Christmas tradition, but then again I am not sure it is not. Lots of men did that last year too.
Some weird Japanese thing going on outside the bar.
Underwear inspection
Another thing that was a bit weird with this party for lonely people was that while there were a bunch of people like me drinking alone at the counter, all the girls that showed up showed up with their boyfriends... So they had obviously missed the theme of this party.
Marilyn Monroe posing outside another bar (and people passing by said: "Ah, so this is a gay bar!")
Yet another Japanese man dressed for Christmas
More people showed up later during the evening, and more people showed up wearing dresses (all men). Later, my friend who had decided not to wear the skimpy underwear on account of it being completely see through (and his dress to short not to wear non-see-through underwear) decided to wear the skimpy things anyway. And to go out and pose in front of unrelated bars looking like that. Japanese Christmas is weird, but pretty entertaining.
"Normal" underwear worn under the see through underwear.

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