Whether through lack of funds, lack of planning or just a general lack of common sense; a number of foreigners will find themselves in Nagoya during the upcoming season. While this may be a novelty for the newbies, for whom eating osechi & ringing the temple bell is still quaint, the more hardened Nagoya veteran probably considers it akin to being stranded in The Overlook. And since all work and no play do indeed make for a dull boy, a little traditional holiday fare will go a long way to keep you from murdering your loved ones with an axe this winter break.
Japan seems to have completely missed the point of many Christmas traditions. However, they do a damn fine job with the twinkling lights. One of the largest displays can be found in Nagoya Port where visual art group NAKED has designed a sensory overload that culminates with music and dance on the 24th. Hoshigaoka Terrace has over 100 miniature houses, creating the biggest little Christmas village in Japan. Smaller but no less beautiful illuminations can be found at Lucent Tower, Centrair and the Noritake Garden.
While I applaud KFC for fooling an entire country into believing that Jesus eats fried chicken on his birthday, I know that most of you would rather have turkey or ham with all the fixin’s; and you won’t have to go without. True to their American-inspired vibe, The 59’s in Sakae has a roast chicken dinner with sparkling wine starting on the 18th. From the 23rd, Shooters is the only place in town to offer a choice of roast beef or turkey on their popular Christmas plate special. For something a little different, Midtown BBQ is doing a smoked angus prime rib Xmas dinner from the 22nd until the 25th. And even OXO is getting into the spirit with their Xmas Fair, offering sparkling wine and a sweets set all month long.
And what Christmas is complete without a party where you can parade around in your mistletoe-adorned hat. On Saturday the ninth, Metro’s Xmas Balls are out and proud at Lover:Z in Shinsakae, featuring the a floor show hot enough to melt the winter blues away. Local jazz dance troupe Nagoya Swings is hosting a Holiday Dance at Shooters on December 10th with live music from the swing trio beret’ caps. And GC Live invites you to wear your Ugly Christmas Sweater to their party on Saturday the 16th with local bands Turning The Sea Into Monsters, Mosaic and Cheapwine Squad.
Unless you’re planning on counting down to the nuclear apocalypse in a fallout shelter made of tatami, you’ll probably be looking for a more celebratory approach to the New Year. Well, everyone with a bar & a watch will be hosting a countdown party on the 31st, but there are a few that rise above the rabble. In Fushimi, you can always raise a pint at the Elephant’s Nest, or enjoy the nicely priced drinks down the way at OXO and Mexigan. Shooters has music all night long with all-you-can drink from 21:00 and a champagne toast at midnight. Also going with the open bar plan, The 59’s has 4 hours of nomihodai. The Rock’s Masquerade Countdown Party featuring DJ scrying offers a chance to don your semi-formal attire and a mask, making that midnight kiss more risqué.
Whatever you get into this holiday season, make sure it’s as safe as it is fun. We’ll see you in 2018!