Japan gets ready for Christmas

Halloween’s not done yet but it’s already Christmas in Japan. When I went to the dollar store in mid-September, it was already decked out in Halloween decorations like below. I just went back there this Sunday, and it had all changed to Christmas.

Anyway, I have this picture still remaining from back when it was Halloween:

Seria, another ¥100 shop in Japan. It’s the closest one to me besides Daiso. It’s not exactly the same as Daiso, and (this one) is smaller, but you can get some of the exact same products as Daiso at Seria sometimes, too.

It’s kind of funny to look at that picture now, because when I went in there this Sunday afternoon (10/27), I couldn’t even find the Halloween decorations at first, because they’d completely replaced this section with Christmas items. All the Halloween stuff had been stuffed into a cart or something next to this aisle, and you can dig through the sad remainder if you think you will find anything. It’ll probably disappear completely after the 31st. (There’s still quite a supply at Daiso.)

Halloween doesn’t really have the history in Japan that it does in the US. I didn’t go out of my way to visit a lot of stores, because I usually get most of my supplies at dollar stores, but the costumes you get at the dollar store are limited. If you look for costumes at Daiso, you can find a couple witch/Dracula capes, lots of headbands with different things on them (pumpkins, cat ears, etc), and like 20-30 different varieties of witch hats. (I’m not kidding.) I feel like costumes don’t throw themselves at you like they do during Halloween in the US. However, I have to mention that despite there being less all-around “Halloweenery” to pick through, it was a lot easier than usual to put together a cute Halloween costume for this year. All I had to do was buy a pair of ears, a cape, and a hair/bow-tie, and with a couple clothes items from UNIQLO I was set.

For Halloween in Japan, there are special Halloween promotions at different stores and chains, Halloween parties in English classes (although probably not on the same scale as the junk food we’re accustomed to having on Halloween), and sometimes small-scale decorations or costume-wearing for events. However, there’s not a real trick-or-treating culture here. (I think there’s trick-or-treating at the nearby Iwakuni US marine base, though.)

Mister Donut Halloween donuts, a ghost and two Hello Kitty Jack-o’-Lanterns.

It’s kind of funny, but when I went to Seria and saw that the Halloween decorations were almost all gone, I thought it was astonishingly like American culture. It doesn’t matter if it’s two months early, and it doesn’t matter if Halloween’s not done yet–Christmas is almost here!! I think I heard Christmas music playing somewhere, too…

Today’s find: 7-11 Christmas cake catalogues, because it’s never too early to reserve your Christmas cake!

I love the little Russian doll-Santas…props if you know what those dolls are really called without clicking the link first.

I love the design of the catalogue. 7-11 (just called セブン “Seven” in Japan most of the time) plays instrumental versions of Christmas songs during the holidays (but not yet, thankfully), and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It makes me glad that the one convenience store available in Waki is a 7-11.

Christmas cakes! Propped up by my laptop because that was the easiest way to take the picture.

Japan has a tradition (if you would call it that) of having Christmas cakes on Christmas. I’ve never ordered one, but you can apparently do it through 7-11. The cakes aren’t very big, but they’re about standard Japanese cake size. The cake on the left is 15cm across and 6cm tall (about 6″ across x 2.3″ tall). The cake in the middle is 15cm x 6.5cm (6″ x 2.5″), and the one on the far right (bottom) is the same size as the first cake. They all come in cute Christmas-themed boxes. Regardless of whether I end up ordering a cake, I think I’ll tear off the pages of the catalogue to decorate my apartment…in about a month.

Song of the Day: Ensemble Galilei, “Come, Gentle Night”

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