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As Christmas and New Year is coming close,  I am reminded how different cultures and nations celebrate  holidays in different style.  I always explain to the people in North America  that New Year’s in North America is like Christmas in Japan and Christmas in Japan is like New Year’s in North America.

Christmas is the time when families celebrate together in North America. There are series of activities up to Christmas Day such as buying the tree, decorating the tree, preparing presents, etc. etc.  You also do things for others who may not have families or may not receive presents.   It is such a significant day that people try so hard to get home. (No wonder, the blizzard last weekend caused so much trouble.)

This is very similar to New Year’s in Japan.  We will do the big cleaning of the house, bring out something new, prepare special food,  give presents in cash,etc. etc.  To many Japanese, New Year’s is the time to go home and spend time with families. (I will do so as well.)

On the other hand, Christmas in Japan is more like party time, probably in the similar way as the New Year’s Eve etc.

This year, I learned something new. I heard from ICS students from Taiwan and Korea who have spent time in many different countries that Chinese New Year (in early February) is like Japanese New Year and New Year Day (January 1) is like Christmas.  The former is the big family occasion and the latter is party time.  I had not idea about that, so I found it very interesting.

Unless you interact with the people from different countries and different culture, you will never know these differences.  I find it  fascinating!  It is really nice,  to know that people of any culture have days to celebrate with families, whether they happen to be on the same calendar day or not.  I think there are so many common factors in the world, though sometimes we focus so much on differences.

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  • Comments (2)

    • JJ
    • December 24th, 2009

    I can’t wait for my first KFC bucket here in Tokyo.

    • yishikura
    • January 2nd, 2010

    Hi, JJ, I hope you had a chance to try the bucket!

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