Christmas in Japan is rather odd for a Westerner. Just like in the US or Europe, images of the Coke-inspired (i.e. Red and White) Santa Claus are all over the place, as well as the evergreen symbolism of midwinter solstice. Howeever, Christmas Day isn’t a holiday. The current emperor’s birthday is the 23rd December, so that is a holiday, but Christmas Day itself is just a normal day, unless one is among the tiny number of Christians in Japan, where it’s a religious day for them. The build-up is pushed by retailers, with Christmas decorations all over the place. These are replaced on Boxing Day with the Japanese New Year decorations instead. New Year is the big holiday season here, really. (more…)