Christmas

Christmas Eve is a big deal in Japan for couples. It’s the one night of the year when you’re supposed to go out on a romantic date and show the world you’re capable of being found attractive by another person. But for singles, it’s a hell that’s on par with Valentine’s Day in the west – canoodling couples everywhere, and all the corny marketing and merchandise that goes with it. So when this young man found himself without a date for Christmas Eve, he decided to skip the middle man (middle woman?) and date himself – in female form! Join us after the jump for some pics, but be warned – they’re a touch on the NSFW side!

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10 slightly strange Christmas trees from Japan

Christmas in Japan has always been different than what folks from other countries are used to. There’s always the Christmas bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken handed out by a santa-suit-clad Colonel Sanders, the Christmas cake topped with whipped cream swirls and strawberries, and those romantic walks with your loved one around the many illuminated streets. LINKS. That’s why we weren’t surprised, and frankly delighted, to find the following 10 unconventional Christmas trees from around Japan.

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Piccolo saves Christmas when he’s not saving Namekians

Comic book fan, cosplay aficionado, and 15-year veteran deputy sheriff Michael Wilson (@knightmage) brought cheer to countless families on December 18 when he strolled into his local Ohio TOYS R US dressed as Dragon Ball‘s Piccolo and paid off everyone’s layaways.

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Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】

I honestly don’t remember the last time I wrapped a Christmas present. Due to a lack of time during the busy period at the end of the year, plus a lack of manual dexterity during…my life in general…I usually just put everyone’s presents into a gift bag.

However, if you want to give someone the gift of satisfaction that can only come from tearing through some festively patterned paper, and you’re got more aptitude for arts and crafts than me (trust me, you do), there’s no need to let your hectic schedule stop you, as this video shows you how to wrap a present in just 12 seconds.

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Kobe Luminarie illumination creators ditched LED for the warmer light of normal bulbs

Tokyo may be trying to take the throne of “City of Lights” from Paris and we’ve seen some dazzling lights in Mie Prefecture, but inKansai, nothing says holiday spirit better than “Kobe Luminarie.” The light display is entering another year of brilliance, as it was originally a display to honor the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, pray for the revival of the city, and reintroduce tourism into the region.

In an effort to save energy after the Tohoku Disaster in 2011, Kobe Luminarie changed their lightbulbs to LED lights. Smart move, right? You would think people would be happy with the economically and environmentally savvy improvement, but apparently the results were a little more sparkling than they’d hoped, in the bad way.

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Japanese website wishes users a Happy Xmas with sweet animation【Video】

Get into the Christmas spirit with this festive video featuring flip-book style animation and a Japanese rock rendition of “Happy Christmas”, put together than none other than master animator Tekken.

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Wish you could check out Tokyo’s Christmas illuminations? Well now you can! 【Video】

We appreciate that while many of you are interested in Japan and Japanese culture, not all of you are able to visit the Land of the Rising Sun quite so easily. But Christmas is a great time of year here in Tokyo, what with all the lights, decorations and hand-holding couples, so in order to share the various seasonal sights with you we took the liberty of putting together a little slideshow.

Join us after the jump for a photo tour of Tokyo’s best Christmas illuminations!

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It’s almost Christmas! Time to buy a sexy, freaky, or inexplicable costume!【Photos】

Bells are jingling, gift lists are daunting, and snow is…not falling in Tokyo. That can mean only one thing: Christmas, Japan’s favorite romantic holiday, is almost here! While your crazy uncle might tell you that Christmas is apparently under siege in some parts of the world, the only holiday worry you’ll find in Japan is getting the right present for your girlfriend.

But don’t be fooled by all the lovers roaming the streets and tormenting lonely single folks, it’s not all romance. There’s more to the season that kissing atop Tokyo Tower–there are also parties and cosplay! Join us after the jump to check out some of the typical outfit offerings on sale in Japan this Christmas.

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How much do Japanese girls expect their boyfriends to spend on Christmas presents? 【Poll results】

Christmas Eve in Japan is very much a date night, perhaps the biggest of the year. Couples go to see festive Christmas lights, have a nice dinner and exchange gifts; the night really matters. But about those gifts…

How much money are you planning on spending on your significant other this holiday season? How much are you expecting them to spend on you? If you’re single, how much do you think your potential darling would want to dish out for a Christmas present? A recent poll gives us a great insight into how much we should probably be spending.

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Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec. 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness

Ah, December 24, Christmas Eve. The time to spend with parents, siblings, drunken aunts and that one crazy uncle that’s always telling you about chemtrails after four or five eggnogs. Or, the time for romantic dinner dates, proposals and convenience store chicken, if you’re in Japan.

The holiday has long been the bane of Tokyo singles, who are forced to watch thousands of happy couples marching all over town Christmas Eve, hand-in-hand, checking out the Christmas “illumination” shows that have become so popular over the years. That it’s one of the few times public displays of affection are relatively accepted in polite Japanese society just makes it all the more difficult for lonely guys and gals to bear.

But, this year, one Tokyo restaurant has a plan to give all those Forever Alones out there a safe haven to dine in peace on Christmas Eve and, who knows, maybe even find a potential partner.

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The 20 most wanted Christmas presents in Japan

Amazon Japan decided to hold its own Cyber Monday sale a few weeks after the North American counterpart. Through the campaign and sales data, they have announced the 20 most wanted Christmas presents in Japan. Clinching the top spot was none other than Sony’s PlayStation 4 which while not the dazzling success that it has been outside Japan has seen strong sales numbers since launch.

But what else do the people of Japan really want this Christmas? Check out the rest of the list below!

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Flash mob at Manila airport brings holiday cheer to surprised passengers

It’s December. It’s that time of the year again. Shop windows are decorated with Christmas trees and signs inviting you to spend more money; Candy canes and Santa Clauses and reindeer seem to be popping up everywhere you go. At the airport in Manila, Philippines, the sultry weather doesn’t seem to have the same holiday magic other wintry places do. However, a flash mob brought the Christmas spirit back to surprised passengers at the terminal and warmed our hearts, too.

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Tokyo’s Christmas displays offer dazzling rebuttal to calling Paris the City of Lights 【Photos】

Spring in Japan belongs to the cherry blossoms. Summer is all about the country’s amazing fireworks shows. And in fall, there’re the beautiful fall colors to look forward to.

In winter though, Christmas decorations take center stage. Specifically, it’s the lights covering the urban landscape, called “illuminations” by the locals, that really bring out the crowds. So if you’re looking to do a little prep work for your Christmas Eve date, the following collection of Tokyo Christmas display snapshots should help you choose which one will best set the mood, and is also a chill-free way to get into the holiday season for those of you more comfortable at home with a hot mug of cocoa than braving the elements outdoors.

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Humbug! Japanese wives in international marriages share what they hate about Christmas overseas

Christmas. Depending on who you are, it can be a time for getting together with family and friends, attending religious services, or maybe just drinking a lot of egg nog. But while all of those are activities of profound cultural and spiritual importance, not everyone has a song in their heart at this time of year.

For a certain set of Japanese women in international marriages and living overseas, ‘tis the season for venting about how Americans and Europeans spend Christmas, and here’s their list of grievances.

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In Japan, nothing says “Merry Christmas, Baby” like greasy convenience store chicken

We all know that KFC is a big, big deal in Japan around Christmas-time. Families order huge Christmas platters for the holiday and singles celebrate by inviting friends over and bringing home a bucket of Special Recipe.

While it may strike Westerners as a delightfully quirky example of holidays getting lost in translation this side of the Pacific, to the Japanese, it’s a cherished tradition. And, of course, a multi-million dollar cash cow for KFC; one that convenience store chains are always eager to get a piece of.

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There’s a Doraemon Christmas tree in Singapore

Shoppers at Singapore’s One Raffles Place can get into the holiday spirit with the help of Doraemon. Or rather, dozens upon dozens of Doraemon, which have been turned into a cute and wonderful Doraemon Christmas tree, complete with Santa hats.

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Sweet Holidays! Cupcakes and doughnuts bring in the festive season at Mister Donut Japan

Now that Halloween is over, and without Thanksgiving being celebrated in Japan, shops here are already getting ready to bring in the Christmas season in earnest. Yes, that means the lights, the ornaments, winter landscape displays … the works.

And of course, there are the holiday sweets to look forward to. In that department, you can certainly have your pick of expertly created luxury cakes from celebrity pastry chefs, but for more casual occasions, Mister Donut Japan is offering a selection of beautiful Christmas cupcakes and doughnuts that promise to be just as delightful. Let’s see their newest line of treats that look festive enough to be displayed under a Christmas tree!

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Ho ho ho! Merry Krispy Kreme Christmas donuts are here!

Japan has really started embracing Halloween over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean the country has adopted every Western holiday. For example, no one really has American-style Thanksgiving celebrations here, which means there’s no reason to wait until December to get into the Christmas mood.

So as soon as Halloween is over, you can start expecting the signs of Christmas, and along with Christmas lights and Christmas trees, this year you can look forward to some sweet and adorable Christmas donuts from Krispy Kreme.

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Create your very own edible Hello Kitty this Christmas with this “Face Cake” set!

Christmas cakes (yes, it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays) come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s not surprising at all to see our favorite feline character and international celebrity Hello Kitty turn herself into one. But this “Hello Kitty Face Cake” requires just a little bit more artistic creativity from you than the average cake. You see, the cake doesn’t come looking like the picture above — you actually have to make it into its Hello Kitty form!

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Eat a red-nosed reindeer and Santa Penguin this Christmas at Baskin Robbins Japan

Baskin Robbins Japan is known for their quirky ice cream creations centered around major foreign holidays, and this year they’ve rolled out a half dozen smiley face frozen treats for Christmas. Featuring familiar characters and adorable animals, these special sundaes in festive cups will get anyone into the holiday spirit. Let’s take a closer look at this cute Christmas lineup:

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