says far more about the Spirit of Capitalism
than anything else I have experienced in my short
23 years here on this silly planet
You see, it feels exactly like American Christmas.
Well, let me describe some of the specific experiences I'm having, explain what exactly strikes me as odd, and
then let you be the judge. Note that I live in Nagoya, considered to be the most industrialized and spiritless
city in Japan. Sure, Tokyo is bigger and all, but it at least has some traditional culture to make up for it.
Also, I'm an American, and have a firm grasp of what christmas is about, even if I am an Agnostic.
- Christmas music - It's everywhere. All the depaato, shops, restaurants, etc... play it pretty much around the clock.
- Three words, green and red - These people have the christmas color scheme down.
- Advertising - The subway, busses, trains, billboards, TV, radio... Almost as permeating as in America.
- Dear Santa Claus - Actually, I have yet to notice any fat japanese guys in red suits with kids in their laps, but the image is sprinkled in all the apropriate places, the sex objects working at the department stores are occasionally "cloathed" as elves with the shortest skirts (red felt, of course) in existence (Heh, I do like this part), and somehow they have even adopted a god from one of their own traditions to to take the place of Mr. Santa for the more traditional citizens. Hotei-sama has eyes in the back of his head, so he knows if you've been bad or good. Added Dec25 - Last night was a special treat. All the pizza delivery guys from Pizza-La were delivering in red santa suits. It just makes your night to glance out your car window and see Santa Clause driving an oversized scooter.
- Christmas lights - Not so much of a do it yourself activity here in Japan, the streets are decorated with lights and we even have the official city Christmas tree; supposedly Nagoya's is the largest in all Japan. This makes me really miss Austin's 35th Street, which is has more lights per cubic meter than could possibly be allowed by the Laws of Physics.
- Hotels - They're all booked. Especially the Love Hotels.
- Crowded department stores - Honestly, department stores are always crowded here, but it is noticibly more so at this time of year.
OK, so what is this so Strange? Let's have a few data points.
In short, Christmas is almost as big as in America, but it is unquetionally Capitalistic Tripe. The Japanese, not having anything to celebrate, turned the holiday into a romantic event. All the couples and married couples go out to the love hotels for an evening with excellent food, good alcohol, and wild jungle sex (if they stay at the right hotel anyway). This is sort of Family, sort of anti-family in that you're with your SO but your escaping your kids. There's no real tradition behind all of these festivities; it's probably driven 90% by that evil capitalism thing.
Oh, and that Christmas music thing. Despite years of schooling, the Japanese rarely speak English. Of course, they are also fairly multicultural types who just have a predilection towards crappy American music, just like the rest of the world, so I'll forgive them that. Except I'll probably snap if I hear another Reggae Christmas song.
So the Japanese are celebrating something entirely capitalism based. And it looks quite similar to America. I'm well aware that correlation doesn't imply causality, but it sure is something to think about. Of course, most of us are already well aware of what has become of this otherwise not so despicable time.