The other day, the topic of conversation in my Japanese class turned to Christmas. Our teacher wanted to know how we celebrated Christmas in our home countries.
We talked about Santa and presents and lights and carols and food and eggnog and tinsel and TV movies and all of the things we think about when we think about Christmas.
"Do you know how we celebrate Christmas in Japan?" the Japanese teacher asked us. "We eat chicken and have sex."
She matter-of-factly explained that Dec. 24 is called "Holy Night" because that's the night young people rent hotel rooms (on their parents' dime) and have sex. She told us her own son is desperately trying to find someone to spend a very unholy night with. He has been going to singles' parties three times a week in order to find a girl he can unwrap on Christmas Eve.
However, the "Sexy Christmas" concept is only for young, single people. Everyone else simply celebrates Christmas by eating chicken. Which probably has less to do with the availability of turkey and more to do with the size of ovens in most Japanese homes.
Basically, we learned that Christmas in Japan has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with sex and chicken. It is refreshing to see a non-Christian country celebrating a Christian holiday in a most unchristian way.