Apple Country

Stories of rural life as an ALT in a northern Japanese fishing town.

Christmas in Japan 日本のクリスマス


In an attempt to spice up my Japanese studying I’ve decided to write a short blog post in Japanese at least once a week, inspired by another blogger who does the same but with Korean.  Her blog is really interesting even though I can’t read Korean haha but you should check it out anyway even just for the posts in English.  (I hope she doesn’t mind me posting it here!)


Christmas is only 3 days away but it reaaally doesn’t feel like it, even though all the shops have been extravagantly decorated with all things Christmassy in their own adorable Japanese way, and in every supermarket you are followed down the aisles by the hollow sound of Jingle Bells in MIDI-version.  Japan actually does Christmas glitz quite well seeing as it’s not even an official holiday here.  In a way this just makes it seem even more of a sham than it did back home (I really mean the buildup to Christmas – commercialism EVERYWHERE kinda ruins the notion that it’s a day to show some love and be with family and get drunk and collapse into a food coma).  As soon as the 25th comes around, all the decorations are stripped away to be replaced by ones for New Year, which is the REAL time to celebrate for Japanese people.

So why bother with all the effort just to spend the day eating ‘Christmas Cake’? (This is what my colleagues told me when I asked them what they do on Christmas Day.  It’s actually just a vanilla cream cake with strawberries.  When I showed my students a picture of real Christmas cake they didn’t know what to make of it!)

In a way I quite like the fact that Japan has embraced Christmas so much; if they hadn’t I’d definitely be feeling even less festive as I do now.  I miss spending the dark evenings by the fire drinking Baileys, sitting on the staircase and being mesmerised by the fairy lights dancing around the porch windows, watching cheesy Christmas films on TV, lying under the Christmas tree trying to guess who’s giving what to who… although I’d never guess my presents because that would ruin the surprise.

I made mince pies to bring into the BOE today – there are only four of us in the office at the moment so I warmed the pies up in the microwave, we sat at the table together with our cups of tea and had a nice chat about the history of mince pies!!  I was quite pleased with the result seeing as I made the mincemeat and pastry all from scratch… it was my first time making mincemeat and I can’t believe how easy it is; I’ll never buy another jar again!  They all went for seconds which must be a good sign, and I can thank food once again for making me feel less like the office’s extra and helping me feel the Christmas spirit a bit more!  I suppose not really having anyone to share it with makes it difficult to get excited about… but I’m spending Christmas Day with some other ALTs who are staying in Japan, so I’m looking forward to our own day of merrymaking, which will include Secret Santa and hopefully plenty of wine consumption.

For my Japanese sections, I’ll write it up on italki first for a native to correct, then post it here so you don’t get all my horrible mistakes.  This one actually only needed two corrections which made me very happy as my previous entries have all needed drastic changes.  Yay progress!


イギリスにはクリスマスのことは絶対どこでもあります。すべてのデパートはプレゼントを買っている人で混ん でいて、ずっと陽気なクリスマスの歌を聞こえます。実は、クリスマスに至るまでの日は私を少しストレスをさせますから、日本はイギリスのめまぐるしいほど ではなくて嬉しいです。しかし、クリスマスの日は私の家族なしで同じ経験ではないと思います。代わりに、他の本国に帰らない友達と西部のクリスマスパー ティに楽しみしています。

I just got handed a Christmas card… from my anaesthetist!!!  Christmas spirit has now reached 100% capacity.

4 thoughts on “Christmas in Japan 日本のクリスマス

  1. Have you explained how excited we get about a “white Christmas”?! You will certainly be getting one of those! Any chance of a snowman? Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. X

  2. You’re probably too young to remember them Nel, but I hope you can get the Morecambe & Wise / Two Ronnies Christmas specials on Netflix; the festive season wouldn’t be the same without them!

    I wonder what your classes would make of Ronnie Barker’s word play; ‘fork handles’?

    Have a fab Christmas and New Year x

    • Even if I can’t I can probably find them on youtube! Haha might have to save that for the higher level students x

      On 23 December 2014 at 05:06, Apple Country wrote:


  3. Ellen, just want to say how much Linda and I enjoy reading your blog and how beautifully written they are.

    Have a great Xmas and New Year

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s