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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: Holidays in Japan Series on JapanesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Japanese holidays and observances. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 23: Christmas.
As everyone knows, Christmas is a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. In Japan, this holiday is a major event but does not have any religious association. Instead, it’s celebrated with secular traditions. The day is an especially happy one for children, who receive a present from Santa Claus.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: when did Christmas come to be recognized in Japan?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
From the start of November, cities are adorned with Christmas trees and Christmas sales begin. It’s a happy time when people choose presents for their family, friends, and partners. The stores play a never-ending selection of Christmas songs, which helps to excite the hearts of the shoppers. Department stores, bakeries, and convenience stores often sell Christmas cakes. A wide variety of Christmas cakes are sold, ranging from the ever-popular strawberry and fresh cream cake, all the way to some quite elaborate versions. Some places accept orders from October. Also, sales of chicken increase at Christmas. Trees on the streets are decorated with LED lights that beautifully illuminate the nights of midwinter.
On Christmas Eve, children place a stocking by their bed and are excited to wake up the following morning to find a present left by Santa Claus. Parents prepare in advance by asking their children what kind of toy they would like.
At Christmas, more and more Japanese are enjoying a Christmas dinner at home with their family rather than eating out. Single people often eat dinner with their friends or partner, and they exchange gifts and hold parties. Among the younger generation, there is tendency for people to spend a romantic Christmas with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Here’s our fun fact for the day! Do you know what the most famous Japanese Christmas song is? It’s no exaggeration to say that the most famous song is "Christmas Eve" by 山下達郎 (Tatsuro Yamashita). It’s a popular song in which the lyrics speak of lovers unable to meet on Christmas Eve.
Now it's time to answer the quiz question: when was Christmas recognized in Japan?
The correct answer is the Meiji era, beginning in the late 19th century. 明治屋 (Meiji-Ya) is a food import company that established a branch in Ginza and held one of the first Christmas sales there. Because of this, celebrating Christmas became more widespread. With each passing year, Christmas becomes more and more of a major annual event, and perhaps could be considered one of the most fun occasions for the Japanese.
Well listeners, how was this lesson?
Did you learn something new?
In your country, how do you celebrate Christmas?
Please leave us a comment telling us at JapanesePod101.com.
And we’ll see you next time!

4 Comments

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JapanesePod101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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In your country, how do you celebrate Christmas?

May 21st, 2015 at 2:51 pm
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Hi Martin,
Hello Enrico,

Thank you for posting!
Sorry about that 😳
The PDF files are available now.
Let us know if you have questions.

Cheers,
Laura
Team JapanesePod101.com

Enrico
May 20th, 2015 at 8:29 am
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I cannot download the notes.

Martin
May 20th, 2015 at 7:03 am
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Hello,

I don’t know why, but I can’t download the notes and transcripts for this lesson. 😒