Spending Christmas and the new year back home and spending Christmas and the new year somewhere else is never the same. There are things that you miss at home, and there are things that you long for elsewhere. It’s never quite the same. However, there are some really neat, meaningful experiences in Japan that can help one to forget what they’re missing at home.
Firstly, like most places in the world, Japan’s decorative bright colorful lights can conjure up thoughts of sugar plums dancing in your head. From small city town squares to larger prefectures, beautifully decorated trees light up every Main Street. This helps to usher in the spirit of Christmas and to welcome in the new year.
Secondly, while I do miss that great Hawaiian tropical weather, there’s something special about spending Christmas in a country with a cold climate. It seems to add that much needed ambiance of authenticity to it. I find myself really enjoying Christmas and the new year in Japan as it’s in the winter. It just feels like how the postcards and the Christmas songs say it’s supposed to feel.
Lastly, while most major cities in the world pride themselves on how spectacular their fireworks display can be as they usher in the New Year, in Japan, it’s largely quiet. Most choose instead to celebrate it by paying that all-important visit to their family temple, cleaning and tidying up the home to get it ready for the new year, and gathering with family and loved ones over a traditional Japanese New Year’s meal.
This to me, is what makes Christmas and the new year “the most wonderful time of the year.”