Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Every year I notice the same thing: my students, in their 'free conversation' time, start to focus on Christmas, starting around the beginning of December. They ask each other, "What are you doing in the winter break?" and then, smirking, "What are you doing on Christmas day?" Especially the guys.

Christmas Day isn't even a holiday here (although it is for university students, usually, depending on when the New Year break starts), so why all the interest, you might wonder?

The answer is that there is is a new tradition in Japan (Japan is hot on 'new traditions') and what Christmas has come to mean here, for young people especially, is 'dinner and a bonk'. With presents. If you are a girl, the idea is to get a rich hot date, so that he will take you to a good restaurant, pay for a upscale hotel for the night, and give you a suitably expensive present. Never visit Japan at Christmas if you want to stay in a nice hotel. They're all booked out months in advance.

I don't know what these young people think Santa Claus and Christmas trees and carols have to do with all this. The symbols of Christmas are everywhere at this time of year, and I'm having to wear my Walkman to go shopping in order not to be driven insane by the tinkly Christmas carols assaulting my tender ears wherever I go. But no doubt it all adds to the kinkiness of the occasion. I shudder to think what the love hotels are doing with it. The nativity scenes I saw plastered all over a large store's windows the other day probably made more sense, in a bizarre sort of way - there's a man and a woman and a baby in there, yup - but even so, I wonder how they think the animals fit in, exactly?

In this BBC story they've been a lot more polite about the phenomenon than I have. They call it romantic.


tinyhands said...

I could have used this information weeks ago. Too late to book a flight now. Oh well. Happy Holidays, love, and joy to you and The Man.

Badaunt said...

And happy holidays to you, too. Have a good one! (I'll let you decide what the 'one' is.)

I'm celebrating by going to a flea market, sans The Man (I'm such a loser), but with a few friends. We'll then go to a fancy hotel, exhausted and laden down with newspaper-and-plastic-bag-wrapped goodies and all dusty from handling junk, for a buffet-style Christmas dinner, and eat until we can't bend over. We may or may not wear antlers and Christmas fairies in our hair.

We do this every year, but this year it's a different hotel and if they don't have Christmas pudding I'll sue them for false advertising.

Be grateful you missed that ticket. It would be the most expensive bonk you ever had. Hotels aren't cheap here.