Ah, Christmas. I remember when it used to actually mean something.
And no, that isn’t some sort of snarky commentary on how Christmas is becoming commerical. I was born in the 80s; Christmas has always been fairly commercial for me. Get time off from school/work, get some bomb-ass presents and have a feast meant for kings. Birthday of that Jesus guy? Sure, good for him.
I mean, Xmas in Japan just doesn’t have the same OOMPH that it does in America. Its not even an official holiday, so unless you request time off specifically you’re going to end up stuck working. The feast meant for kings? I have no idea how this came to be, but in Japan Christmas in Japan means KFC. Yes, you read that right, Kentucky Fried Chicken. On Dec 24th any KFC in Japan will have a line around the block of people waiting for that Christmas Chicken. Maybe its because the Japanese figure Colonel Sanders and Santa are the same guy? “If we don’t eat his chicken, he may become angry and not give us presents! Better order the 12-piece set…”
And for whatever reason, the only Christmas songs that Japan seems to know (or care about) are “Last Christmas” by WHAM and “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey. …Yeah, those songs do a better job of inspiring me to take a bulldozer to all of Whoville than stoke my yuletide spirit. For this year, the Japanese band EXILE did a remake of “Last Christmas”, so now we get that interspersed with the original WHAM version. That doesn’t make it any less cheesy though. More cheesy, actually.
(For those who are wondering, EXILE is a group composed of 2 guys who sing and 3,208 guys who dance. Regardless of the type of song. Even if it’s a slow song…they’re dancing. Imagine K-Ci and Jo-Jo singing “All My Life”, and in the background MC Hammer’s old dance troupe are busting a move. Its like that.)
One thing Japan does get right at least is the commercialism. Which means getting and receiving presents. Unfortunately, I’m at the age where I either don’t really want anything in particular, or the stuff I want is far too big to ask for for Christmas (new HDTV…). But of course, I’m going to get something regardless of whether I want it or not, and I’m kinda sorta obligated to give in return.
And here is where I’m stuck. I need to give my wife something for Christmas…but I don’t know exactly what. I know she likes/wants clothes. But here’s the problem – we don’t exactly see eye on eye on fashion. She likes the type of fashion that I liken to wearing potato sacks – I would prefer it if she wore clothes where someone could tell by looking at her that she was actually female. I don’t mean horribly revealing, tight clothing – just something that doesn’t look a little like a Glad bag with a belt. I can’t bring myself to buy the potato sacks, and even if I do buy her something nice I pick out, she only ends up wearing it once before it goes to Closet Hell.
I’m also considering getting her a Nintendo DS. There are some software titles she’s interested in. The only problem here is that while I’m sure she could get some use out of it, its not what she REALLY wants. Plus, it could potentially irrevocably damage our relationship, as I might find me a new girlfriend that I’d want to marry.
My final gift idea was…um…an HDTV. Aside from not having the money to afford one (nowhere close), even if I did buy one I can’t think of how I could possibly explain it as a gift to her. Even if I did manage to pull that off, then I’d sort of be obligated to let her watch it – that means Japanese TV in glorious HD. I think I’d rather be beaten to death by monkeys. So, this idea was sort of doomed from the start.