Merry Christmas from Japan Zone!

Nagoya Castle

We here at Japan Zone would like to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas! We are having a rare white Christmas here in Nagoya. The snow started falling in the afternoon and by this morning (it’s now St. Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day) there was a blanket of snow across the city. Japanese workers still have a few days till their New Year’s break, and as December 31 is a Saturday it’ll be a fairly short break for most people this year.

Japan has always been a country that makes the traditions of other countries somehow its own. You see Santas everywhere although Christmas is celebrated in an almost totally secular way. And while China is seen by many as Japan’s greatest rival, if not an enemy, the Japanese will soon be celebrating an essentially Chinese tradition as we enter the Year of the Dragon. Personally I’m looking forward to 2012 because I’ll be a “toshi otoko”, having been born in the animal sign of the coming year. And it means I’ve made it through one more 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.