Christmas in America and Japan

One of the interesting differences between America and Japan is the way we treat Christmas. In Japan, it is more like a dating holiday, similar to Valentine's Day in America. It's also common in Japan to get Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas, because it seems similar to turkey and that seems in the spirit of an American Christmas. At least, that how I understand it. Ok, that's a fun and interesting way of doing Christmas.

What we have done in my family is quite different. First, we light up a Christmas tree -- this is the one in my house -- and decorate it with ornaments collected over the years. I understand that in Japan some people do get a tree, but in American tradition, real trees are almost always used, not plastic ones.

The other interesting thing is that you don't have to be Christian to celebrate Christmas. As long as you feel connected with your family and friends, that's good. It's not a dating holiday in America, rather it is about family togetherness, and exchanging gifts.

But the real reason I wrote this journal entry is that it will be my last Christmas before going to Japan, where I'll be separated from my family for a long time. That means family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas won't be the same for me. I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I feel attached to the good feelings that have come from my family, and our traditions. On the other hand, I'm very excited to try something new. Did I mention Japan's Christmas cake? More to come on that, in the food section.

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