12 Days of Christmas in Japan #11: a word to the wise men
See all posts in this series via the '12days' tag.
Christmas Eve is, by Japan's standards, the most romantic night of the year. Forget Valentine's Day. Forget White Day exactly a month later. December 24th is when to pull out the big guns.
If you're a bloke.
There's an expectation that, if you're one half of a couple, your Christmas Eve's going to be a bit special. And it does depend which half.
If you're dating a Japanese man, he's probably got it covered and you can chill. If you're dating a Japanese woman... you'd better have planned something.
Something other than spending your Christmas Eve queuing for fried chicken, naturally.
How about a light display? The 24th is the perfect day for going out and cooing at illuminations. I say 'day', because it'll be dark by about 4pm.
Illuminations are, for whatever reason, romantic ONLY if you see them with your amour. You're looking at the same thing, but having someone you love - or at least care for - next to you is somehow different.
There's an ad campaign running for Partner Agent, a wedding matchmaking service. Their goal is to reduce the number of people who want to get married but can't/haven't to 0. First Japan, then the world... I guess.
This is one of their posters:
"Illuminations, if not seen together (as a couple), are just little lightbulbs." Ouch.
And I say 'going out' - good luck getting a hotel room or restaurant table on a whim.
One Japanese website suggests that men should start planning their Christmas date 2 months in advance. You've got to be on the ball, guys! If all you're thinking in late October is 'oh, hey, it's autumn', then you're a lazy self-centred ass. (Kidding.)
Another lists the top reasons women think their date was a failure:
He didn't get me a present
He hadn't made any plans
We had dinner at a really cheap restaurant
He brought his friends along
All of those, to me, sound like terrible dates any time of the year. I admit I do have less tolerance for things when cold, maybe that's the problem.
Seems like there's a lot of pressure on boyfriends and husbands at Christmas. It probably won't snow, but you'd better make it rain.