Despite most ex-pats attempting to kid themselves that it will be a fun experience, most are expected to discover that Christmas will in fact be a bit shit.
For many foreigners, this will be their first year spent in a country in which Christmas has very little cultural connection, but despite talking it up like it will be a good thing, they are destined for disappointment.
“I can’t wait for my first Christmas in Japan,” said Malorie Conway, a teacher at ABC Eikaiwa in Nagoya. “I’ve invited a few friends round to mine, and we are ordering a turkey online. One of their mums is sending her crackers for us to pull at dinner. It’s going to be just like home!”
Conway’s colleague, Emma Ganderton was eager to match her co-worker’s enthusiasm: “Oh, it’s gonna be awesome! I’m gonna make a pumpkin pie, and I’ve all ready bought a fantastic Secret Santa gift. We are gonna have all the kids at school make us decorations, so it’s gonna have a really cool Japanese arty twist. I can’t wait!”
This state of excitement is not unusual in those who have not yet felt the crushing dismay of learning that one of their most cherished holidays is considered little more than a novelty event. They become blinded by the fact that there are Christmas songs being played in the stores, illuminations adorn city centers and even Colonel Sanders is dressed like Saint Nick. However it does not take long for them to be disavowed of this notion.
“I feel sorry for them, I really do,” Said Nick Vines who has lived in Japan for seven years and is the manager of the eikaiwa at which Conway and Ganderton work. “I remember having the same optimism, but it soon gets kicked out of you.
“When you realize that you can’t cook your turkey because you haven’t got a proper oven, that Christmas dinner is at KFC, and the only people celebrating are young couples who are using it as an excuse to go to a Love Hotel, your well of Christmas cheer dries up very quickly.
“They will be particularly glum when they realize that I have them both working from 11am to 10pm that day” he added. “Ho, ho, ho.”