Christmas

We wish you an age-appropriate Christmas and a happy Pokémon tree!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Pikachu in a Christmas tree. At the Pokémon Center in Tokyo!

This amazing tree was recently spotted on Japanese site Pokésoku, with the question: “I thought I’d buy my nephew a Pokemon for Christmas, but can a six-year-old child handle it?”

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The true meaning of Japanese Christmas

It’s December again in Japan, and that means that Christmas trees are sprouting up outside store fronts while festive advertisements of cakes adorn the trains and convenience stores across the land. The usual mercilessly repetitive jingles that fill department stores and supermarkets are replaced with mercilessly repetitive carols for this one special month.

However, not everyone can share in the festive joy of a Japanese Christmas filled with hallowed traditions such as fried chicken and bowling. Christmas in Japan is also a day for lovers, and as of 2011 it was estimated that over 60% of young men and women would be single for the holidays and that number certainly hasn’t appeared to have changed recently.

All this lonesomeness and misery brought about annually begs the question: “Who the hell made Christmas a romantic holiday in Japan anyway?!” RocketNews24 Japan investigated.

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We search for Japan’s best convenience store fried chicken, just in time for Christmas

Like many people who grew up in the US, I used to think of food cooked at a convenience store as the absolute last resort for sustenance. Things are different in Japan though, where the hygienic, attentively-staffed convenience stores are more akin to compact local grocers. Aside from a variety of boxed lunches, you can even get tasty hot food, such as fried chicken.

Fried chicken, it just so happens, is the traditional choice in Japan for Christmas Eve dinner, so with the holiday fast approaching we decided to stage a little taste test to see which convenience store’s fried chicken is the best.

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Snoopy & Woodstock join the party at Mister Donut Japan this Christmas


The Japanese have a strange love for sinking their teeth into their favorite characters. We’ve seen Rilakkuma cakes and Hello Kitty doughnuts, next in line appears to be good-old Snoopy and his little yellow friend, Woodstock.

Mister Donut (or Misdo for short), the confectionary maker who brought us the jack-o’-lantern Hello Kitty doughnuts for Halloween, is already in the midst of preparing for the Christmas season, and boy does it look tasty!

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Bandai gets a head start on Christmas cakes

After years of living in Japan, I’ve noticed that the island nation has quite a few merry misconceptions about what it means to have a Western Christmas celebrationReplacing Santa’s cookies with a strawberry-topped Christmas cake is just one of their many mix-ups, though at least they have the gift-giving part right.

Now, you might be wondering why it is that we’re posting about Christmas when it’s barely even October! As it turns out, Japanese parents hoping to surprise their kids with a sweet treat from Bandai have to start planning for the holidays NOW. The Premium Bandai online store has just opened up reservations for their 2013 line of character-themed Christmas cakes called Chara Deco Christmas. These cakes come with toys and other neat treats suited to young fans of everything from Kamen Rider to Pokemon.

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We visit the World Santa Congress in Kumamoto Prefecture and still feel exactly like jaded adults

Located in a remote section of a remote prefecture of Japan, Kumamoto’s Amakusa City faces the same problem a lot of rural towns do: its population is dwindling as children born there generally have to leave to pursue an education or career, and few move back.

As part of an effort to boost the remaining residents’ spirits, as well as hopefully garner a little tourism publicity, Amakusa recently held a World Santa Congress.

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Santa Biker Gang Spotted in Tokyo

Our reporter was walking through downtown Tokyo on Christmas Eve (alone, of course) when suddenly from behind a large posse of Santas on motorcycles came riding up from behind, filling the streets with the sound of roaring engines and holiday cheer.

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Japanese Men Share Their Worst Christmas Experiences Ever: Pikachu, Platoon and Painkillers

So this is Christmas. The time where we all sip eggnog by the open fire enjoying the gentle blanket of wet snow covering a meadow as a deer scampers by, right?

Of course not, it’s raining here now and my glasses are broken. Still, I’d consider this an average holiday season for myself. For many out there, Santa has little more than a big bag of suck to stuff in your stocking.

Don’t sweat it though. Every year can’t be a winner. For those having a blue Christmas, the website MyNavi has compiled a list of Japanese men’s worst Chirstmas experiences.

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Beautiful Japanese Christmas Confectioneries if You’re Tired of Regular Christmas Cake

With Christmas now just a few short days away, I’m sure many of us are still frantically trying to get some last-minute Christmas shopping done. There’s also Christmas dinner to think about, right? And of course, the Christmas cake, which the children (and yes, adults too) are all looking forward to. But wait, who said you have to have cake for Christmas? Japanese wagashi creators, Japan’s version of patissiers,  offer a choice of delectable looking Christmas treats that should be just as sweet as cake.  Read More

Peep Into the Enchanted Worlds of Snow White and a Christmas Wonderland With These Books That Open to 360 Degrees of Charm!

Peek through the pages of either of these two wonderful “360° Books” from any angle and you get treated to an intricate view of a fantasy world like you’ve never seen.  All you have to do is keep opening the pages until you’ve created a circle and the scene inside has taken shape. Read More

Japanese Yahoo! Answers User Asks “Why isn’t Santa Coming?”, Elf Responds with Sad News

With just seven days to go, children the world over are without a doubt already finding it hard to sleep at night. Will Santa (or Father Christmas as I grew up calling him) arrive? Have I been good enough this year? Does he know about the things I did with Jane Steepleton in her tree house during the summer?

Let’s hope that we’ve all been good boys and girls and that the big man in red will pay us all a visit, unlike one unfortunate individual who found himself giftless on Christmas day one year and took to Japan’s Chiebukuro Yahoo! Answers forums to ask the nation simply: “Where is Santa!?”

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‘Tis the Season to Get Lucky: Condoms One of Japan’s Best-Selling Christmas Items

Yes, you read the title correctly: while Americans are stocking their shopping carts with presents for their friends and family, Japanese shoppers are fighting over the last box of Mega Big Boys.

Okay, that may be slightly exaggerated, but according to JEX Condoms, sales of condoms in Japan increase by roughly 8% around the winter holidays, the bulk of which is thought to occur before or during Christmas Eve.

But why? Do Japanese people have nothing better to stuff their stockings with? Not quite, and to understand why condoms sell so well on the holiest of nights, we need to take a look at how the holiday is celebrated by many people in the country.

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Japanese City Changes Name to “Xmas City” this December

On 30 November, the mayor of Yamaguchi, Sumita Watanabe, declared to Nishinippon Newspaper that his city of Yamaguchi will be renamed “Xmas City” for the entire month of December. The move is a part of a tourism campaign which involves a month-long event of festive activities.

More than simply a PR campaign, Yamaguchi actually has a valid claim as being the launching pad for Christianity in Japan and thus the “hometown” of Christmas in Japan. Yamaguchi was where Saint Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Japan, and his followers celebrated their first Christmas.

Gather around kids, it’s time to hear the story of how Christmas first came to Japan.

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Disney’s Dreamland Illuminations in Harajuku Light up Your World, You Won’t Want to Go Home

In celebration of Walt Disney’s 110th Anniversary, Disney has put together a literal dreamland of illumination displays in Harajuku, Tokyo.  A part of the larger “Walt Disney 110th Anniversary Omotesando Harajuku Dream Together Project 2012,” these light displays are open from November 1st to December 25 and are already drawing crowds of viewers.

Our female correspondent visited the display last week and tells us that while Harajuku’s Disney Dreamland illumination event is a must see for Disney lovers, even if you aren’t a Disney fan, you will surely be impressed by this awesome display of lights.

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‘Tis the Season to Go Shopping – Japanese Men Prepared to (And Most Likely Expected to) Spend More on Christmas Presents than Women

You could probably say that we Japanese are generally not very strict when it comes to religion. Most Japanese go to Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples on New Year’s, many couples have weddings at churches regardless of their religion, and a majority of funerals in Japan are conducted in a Buddhist style. And of course, we can’t forget one of the biggest holidays of the year, Christmas, which the Japanese most definitely celebrate in a huge, though not Christian, way. And now that we’re into November, it won’t be long before we’re hearing “Jingle Bells” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” at every store we step into.

That means we’ll soon have to start thinking about Christmas presents. (Yikes!) So, in a country that is predominantly apathetic towards religion, do many Japanese people look forward to Christmas, and how much do they expect to spend on presents? NetMile, a Japanese internet research and shopping points program company, conducted a poll to find out, and the results were recently announced. Read More

A Very PokeChristmas: Pokemon Center Announces 2012 Christmas and New Year’s Goods

Pokemon Christmas and New Year’s goods will soon be on sale at all seven of Japan’s official Pokemon Center stores.  Pokemon Christmas goods will be released on October 27 followed by Pokemon New Year’s goods on November 3.

Here’s a sneak peak!

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