As a foreigner myself in Japan, every day is a constant culture lesson. Sometimes you need to ask ‘why’ a lot and sometimes you just need to let it slide. Like moving to any foreign country, the longer you stay does not necessarily mean the less you know.
The same goes for Emma from TokiDoki Traveller and Beauty Blogger Kim Dao. In a total combined amount of 4 years living in Japan, Emma and Kim sit behind the desk and put their knowledge on Japanese trivia to the test!
We know that Japan doesn’t celebrate Christmas like most countries do. Yes, we know, they like to eat KFC during Christmas, which is a phenomenon in itself. But there’s more to Japanese Christmas culture than just a bucket of delicious fried-chicken.
First and foremost, dessert. What do we eat when we’ve demolished KFC? Strawberry cake. This cake is in-between a sponge and a shortcake but is so closely associated with Christmas that what it really is, has already been deemed as a Christmas cake. This cake is typically decorated with cream, strawberries and perhaps a sugar ornament if you’re feeling fancy. Like KFC, this cake is almost always sold out towards the end of the year, which is why you would need to pre-order it if you’re desperate to try a classic Japanese Christmas tradition.
(Image from Cooking WIth Dog)
In Japan, Christmas is also like their Valentine’s Day part two. Among Japanese youth, it’s pretty lame to be hanging out with your family during Christmas (as family time is more associated with New Year’s) so find your special someone and drag them along with you to do the must-sees and must-eats of Christmas in Japan.
(Image from CNBC)
When it comes to decorating for Christmas, Japan goes all out. Usually starting around mid-November and past the New year, you’ll start to see cities decked out with fairy lights (illuminations), wreaths, tinsel and Christmas trees. Christmas light displays are also an incredibly popular activity for couples to engage in, as they are all around the city and are free to view. As cold as it is in Japan towards the end of the year, it sure helps that the warm red and orange lights on every corner can add to Christmas cheer!\
(Image from Santitizing)
Want your own Scarlett Johannson and Bill Murray moment? Then you have to try Karaoke in Japan. Although typically a common social bonding activity for businessmen, Karaoke in Japan are equipped with props to entertain (maracas, tambourines etc.), televisions, microphones and of course, the karaoke machine for anyone to enjoy. Sing (or in my case, scream) along to all your favorite bangers in Japanese, English, Korean and sometimes even Chinese. With a wide variety of genres and a large selection of the newest trending songs, Karaoke is a fantastic place for you to relieve stress after a long day of work.
(Image from World of Wanderlust)
Popular Sport in Japan
Japan has its fair share of traditional sports but surprisingly, the country seems to also as equally invested in foreign sports. In a survey conducted in September 2017 (via. Statista) states, the favorite sports to watch among Japanese people were baseball, soccer, volleyball, figure skating, and tennis. Most of these sports are offered and practiced since elementary school in Japan and these sports clubs at Japanese Universities are quite often the clubs with the most members.
(Image from The Come Back)
Otherwise, Ace of Diamond, Captain Tsubasa, Haikyuu!!, Yuri on Ice and Prince of Tennis. Now, who says Japanese people aren’t affected by anime?
If you think Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan, think again! Check out the video to find out what the answer is!
Pikachu in Japan is more than just a character at this point. They have a whole festival dedicated to Pikachu and at one point, Pikachu was even able to meet the Japanese foreign minister. With over 12 Pokemon centers and 11 Pokemon stores, it’s safe to say that Japan loves Pikachu. The epitome of kawaii (the CHEEKS), the signature ‘Pika-pika’ mantra, and its total dedication to old mate Ash shows loyalty and friendship. How can Japan hate this cutie anyway?
(Image from The Pokemon Center)