Illuminations are a pretty big thing in Japan at Christmas time but something I’ve just not bothered with as I referenced in my ‘Things I’ve Never Done In Tokyo‘ post back in 2011. However, this year we were in Shimbashi and I thought it might be a nice idea to take the short walk to see the lights at Caretta Shiodome. I was wrong!! Unlike the majority of Japanese girls, my wife did not think they were kirei (beautiful) although I did think they were quite pretty. Not really my thing though and I will continue to not go out of my way to see such a thing in future years!
With this being my third consecutive Christmas in Tokyo it’s fair to say that I am getting very used to spending it in a country where there is all the build-up (mostly for marketing purposes!) but nothing at the end of it! My Christmas party (below) on the 23rd of December is in danger of becoming an annual fixture!! I once again organised one for those people not going away during the holiday season and for Japanese friends who of course live here!. Takadanobaba was the location yet again and the turn-out in terms of the number of guests was pretty much the same as last year albeit with more Japanese than foreigners present for the first time!
For my final week at work I this year thought it good timing to use the Wham classic ‘Last Christmas‘ (below) in class as a gap fill activity. It was kind of apt that singer George Michael died at his home on Christmas Day of all days last year. The song never actually got to number one as, despite selling bucket-loads, it was pipped to the top by the Band Aid charity record. For many years this was my favourite Christmas record but was one I’d never used in class until this year. I always thought it was too well known but I should’ve realised that most Japanese only know the basics. I tried it out in a few classes with all the gaps being past simple or past participle words. It seems that the locals only really know the tune, the title and some of the first line!
I also re-did my sheet for ‘Merry Xmas Everybody‘ to incorporate a few changes Noel Gallagher made (above) to the Slade classic when he recorded it for a Christmas episode of ‘The Royle Family‘ in 2000.
Back in January I bought DVD copies of ‘Home Alone‘ (1990) and ‘Jingle All The Way‘ (1996) ready for this Christmas! Talk about preparation!! The latter (below) stars the terminator and young Anakin Skywalker in what some (ok, me only!!) say is basically a prequel to ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace‘ (1999)!! ‘Home Alone‘ is a true Christmas classic and will now join the likes of ‘Love Actually‘ (2003), ‘Elf‘ (2003) and ‘Die Hard‘ (1988) on my festive playlist every December.
All of the above are pretty good but in recent years the festive season has coincided with the release of a movie from my favourite franchise. In the middle of December, ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi‘ (2017) was released and of course I was there to see it on opening day at my local cinema (below) and again at the same time seven days later but that time my wife was also in tow.
The Santa outside the cinema (below) seemed a bit deflated on the second visit though!
Over the years there have been well over a dozen strange and unique flavours of Pepsi and, after the success of the vaguely named Pepsi Halloween Cola (it was cherry flavoured!) in October came this years festive offering which was called Pepsi Christmas cola! That doesn’t really tell you anything about the flavour which is a shortcake taste for that is what Japanese people consider to be Christmas cake! I think many Japanese must get quite a shock when they gleefully accept the offer of some Christmas cake in the UK or wherever! Quite a contrast! This particular Pepsi bottle (below) was quite tasty in my opinion but it’s a little too sweet!
As for shortcake itself, well I thought I’d have some this year and so bought a little dual package at a convenience store for my wife and I to have for dessert on Christmas Eve. I also bought some fried chicken as that’s what Japanese tend to eat as Christmas food. As glad as I was to finally sample KFC last Christmas it really wasn’t worth the financial outlay at all and this one piece was satisfactory enough this year. I couldn’t get mince pies this year either so was left with just a solitary one given to me by a school manager.
Nothing says Christmas more than rugby right! Of course that’s not true but I need some kind of platform to mention it on and as it happened just seven days before the 25th it can be tagged on the end of this festive post. Thanks to some free tickets, I persuaded my wife to join me to watch Suntory Sungoliath beat Kobe Steelers 24-7 at Chichibunomiya Rugby Ground (below) in Gaienmae. Former Australian international Matt Giteau was playing for the home team and the first half was pretty good with all the points scored then meaning the second period was a bit dull. It’s important to remember though that this is Top League rugby which is a world apart from watching the Brave Blossoms or the Sunwolves in the Super Rugby competition.
Click here to read ‘Christmas 2016 In Tokyo’
Click here to read ‘Christmas 2015 In Tokyo’