The magic of Christmas is something that can be felt by anyone, anywhere around the world. The joy of celebrating the wonderful season with great food and better company is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and in Japan, it’s no different.
Watch as shops slowly roll out their ‘santa-san’ decorations and figurines, enticing children and adults alike to come hither. Marvel at the stunning light illuminations which go up as early as October. Take photos with the Christmas trees that pop up all around the cities, decorated with tinsel and baubles and everything in between.
If you happen to be in Japan over the Christmas period, there are a heap of things to do to celebrate with the locals. Try and tick off as many as you can from this list so that you can have the quintessential Japanese Christmas!
1. Eat KFC
Yep, you read that right! Ever since the 1970s, when a bizarre but sensical KFC chicken campaign took off in Japan around Christmas time, KFC has become as much as a tradition as turkey in the U.S.!
On Christmas day, family and friends will gather around to happily feast on a massive KFC feast. It’s become so popular that KFC stores all around the country will become inundated with orders; you pretty much have to get your order in a few weeks earlier to get a spot!
Over the years, the Christmas offerings have been chopped and changed, but one thing has stayed the same: Colonel Sanders Santa is a must-have guest at your Japanese Christmas celebration.
2. Shop at the Christmas Markets
International idols in Japan
Japan has no shortage of idols and fans who adore them, both inside and outside the country. However, some of those international fans take their passion one step further, making the journey to Japan with hopes of breaking into the idol scene. Yet others inspired by the Japanese idol scene become performers in their own countries. But for those who end up in Japan, many roads lead to the idol stage. Some first come to Japan as students, enthusiastic about Japanese subculture, and either through cosplaying, building a presence on video-sharing platforms, working in maid cafes, or other routes, they find an opportunity to perform at events. Sometimes, they are recruited by an entertainment agency and make their debut in an idol group.
Some examples are Manx businesswoman, YouTuber, singer and dancer Beckii Cruel, who was in a band called Cruel Angels in 2009, Austrian YouTuber and cosplayer Keeki-hime, who joined the idol group Tone Jewel in 2012, American designer Amina Du Jean (“Aminyan”) who joined the idol group Chick Girls in 2015, and Canadian twins Ally & Sally, who joined Japanese idol unit SeiSHUN Gakuen in 2017 and founded its Canadian sister group Seishun Youth Academy in 2018.
If you’re interested in seeing a great example of multinational idols performing, there is an excellent opportunity to do so coming up on December 14th at Shin Koenji Loft in the Koenji neighborhood of Tokyo. Even if you can’t be there in person, the event will be streamed and archived.
This event will feature the first and last performance of the multinational idol group Kurofune-chan!
Established in 1975 as a dyeing consignment processing business, Art-Uni アート・ユニ dyes textiles for apparel and interior using the traditional Kyoto Yuzen technique.
Their innovative hand-drawn designs have attracted designers from high fashion brand products and are often featured on runways around the world. The company’s originally developed Saiketsuzome 彩纈染め, in particular, is highly acclaimed in the fashion industry, including the big maisons.
Always seeking innovation, Art-Uni has taken on the challenge of bringing Kyoto’s traditional crafts to the world in a new way, announcing that it will begin selling carefully selected textiles from its thousands of past creations as well as new works on the NFT (non-fungible token) market. By March 2022, 1,000 NFT products will be listed on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Possibilities of dyeing technology in NFT
Normally, when dyeing fabrics, the bleeding that occurs after dyeing, called naki なき, is factored in before production. Digitally produced textiles have the potential to express the change in subtle colors that occur before the fabric dries.
Prospects for entering the NFT market
With an eye on the metaverse, Art-Uni will explore the possibilities of clothing, furniture, wallpaper, and other items in AR space. They also hope to convey the appeal of using actual dyeing in the process of creating digital works by holding exhibitions and sales events in the real world.
Moreover, since OpenSea sets royalties, even once an NFT product is no longer in the creator’s hands, a small percentage of the value will return to the creator each time it is distributed (resold) in the secondary market. Art-Uni hopes to use this system to train the next generation of Yuzen textile craftspeople.
Japan is well known for tea all around the world. It’s a healthy beverage that’s delicious and can be served both hot and cold. The tradition of tea in Japan goes back for more than 1,000 years. Tea was first introduced from China in the 8th century and it was largely used as a medicinal beverage drunk among priests and the wealthy. Tea then became widely popular during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573), in which affluent members of society started hosting tea-drinking parties as a chance to show off their immaculate tea bowls and share their knowledge of the drink. Around that time the father of modern tea traditions Sen no […] …continue reading
How many Japan’s annual festivals can you name? While Japanese people celebrate worldwide events such as Christmas and New Year’s Day just like other countries, they also have some unique national holidays that can be experienced only in Japan. Hinamatsuri is one of these festivities. The girl’s day is celebrated nationwide every year on March 3rd. If you live in Japan, or have travelled in Japan during the time of festival some years before, it is probably not your first time to hear about the festival. Though for many people hinamatsuri is an unknown phenomenon. So, what is Hinamatsuri? How do Japanese people generally celebrate it and why? Here we […] …continue reading
“Vertical-scroll and full color manga are becoming the global standard,” according to Tokyo a publishing executive, while the merits of the different style of Japanese manga are not being conveyed to the world.
Rio Terada, for JAPAN Forward
More and more Japanese people are reading manga from South Korea.
Unlike monochrome Japanese comics, South Korean ones are full color, and readers can view the content easily by scrolling up and down on their smartphones.
Some experts believe that vertical-scroll manga will become the global standard. Certain Japanese publishers are also moving into this new market.
Will traditional Japanese manga – a proud part of the country’s culture – be left behind?
“We appeal not just to people who like manga, but also to those who enjoy viewing content on their smartphones. We have succeeded in creating a way of enjoying manga that can be habitual,” reveals a press officer at Piccoma, a manga subscription service.
Piccoma was developed and released by Kakao Japan, a subsidiary of the South Korean company Kakao.
Kakao’s vertical-scroll manga “Solo Leveling,” which was localized for the Japanese market, surpassed a monthly sales figure of ￥200 million JPY ($1.7 million USD) in May 2020 – gaining attention in the publishing world.
Though fireworks are most commonly associated with summer festivals in Japan, there’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy them year round; and during the colder months when skies are clearer, the colourful displays contrast against the dark of night and appear to shine brighter than ever.
On the 18th of December this year, the lower slopes of Mount Fuji will become the setting for ‘Japan’s highest altitude fireworks display‘ when approximately 5,000 fireworks will be launched from the second station of the Fujinomiya trail.
The display will be taking place at Amusement Park Grinpa, which is located at the second station of the Fujinomiya trail (with most hikers starting their Fuji climb from the fifth stations, it’s also a great opportunity to get acquainted with the lesser-visited lower end of the trail).
Two plans have been prepared to cope with recommendations on minimizing contact between people; firstly, the event will provide 4,500 socially distanced seats within the park that can reserved in advance, secondly, for those who wish to further reduce the risk of contact, there will be drive-in fireworks tickets that allow people to safely view the display from their parked car.
Due to the prolonged effects of the pandemic, a great number of fireworks displays and events have been cancelled over the past year and a half. If the situation continues as it is, then these cancellations will force fireworks companies to close and will inevitably lead to the decline of the Japanese fireworks industry as a whole.
If you visit shrines or temples on New Year’s Day, you may see a lot of people lining up and receiving a small rectangle paper. People seem to read it carefully, and some people smile and others frown. What are they exactly doing there? They are reading a fortune slip called Omikuji, which is a popular thing to do all year round, but especially popular on New Year’s Day to test the new year’s luck. This article is going to feature the secret and attractions of Omikuji. What is Omikuji? Omikuji is a paper slip with the result of fortune-telling written on it. Many Japanese shrines and temples offer this […] …continue reading
Japanese paper cutout artist SouMa (@SouMaNoKirie) posted four photos on her Twitter account, eliciting many reactions of surprise and disbelief.
The pictures look like glasses and plastic bottles. The glasses, in particular, show the beauty of the delicate patterns even more clearly due to the reflection of the light.
However, as you can probably guess, the photos were not of real glasses or plastic bottles. Rather, they were of the artist’s paper cutouts!
No matter how hard you stare at them, they look like the real thing!
“They’re all paper cutouts…”
SouMa’s works are made by cutting thin washi traditional Japanese paper with a utility knife.
When you think that the luster of the glass, the delicate patterns, and the realistic texture of ice and water are all expressed using only paper, you get a sense for SouMa’s amazing powers of concentration and skill.
Even if you know it’s a paper cutout, it’s hard to believe.
Many people praised her works, leaving comments such as:
SouMa’s works surpass most people’s expectations of what paper cutouts look like. Many people were blown away by her work.
Medication in Japan – One of things we take for granted when heading to or traveling around a foreign country is our health and well-being. The dreams and excitement of experiencing new and wonderful things and making memories with family and friends often overshadows the reality that often different climates take tolls on our bodies.
For many people traveling to Japan, the weather may come as a shock, especially during summer and winter. In summer, the weather is annoyingly humid, and during winter, it gets devastatingly cold especially in the northern regions (unless you’re from a country like Russia!).
With this change in climate comes the chance that you may fall ill. From sniffly noses to sore throats, headaches and even dehydration, catching a sickness whilst overseas is definitely not fun. In a country like Japan where English is not widely spoken, it can be a struggle to purchase medicine to help you get better.
Below we’ve listed some basic information on medication in Japan you need if you do fall ill.
Best Medication In Japan For Common Type of Sicknesses
Fever Medicine in Japan
A fever happens when your body temperature rises above normal.
Stomach Pain in Japan