12 Days of Christmas in Japan #12: a day like any other
See all posts in this series via the '12days' tag.
If you're in central London on Christmas Day (a UK public holiday), it's like being on the set of 28 Days Later. Pretty much every shop is closed. No trains or buses are running. There's barely anyone out wandering the streets.
If you're in central Tokyo on Christmas Day, it's like...
...any other winter day.
Japan doesn't stop for Christmas. It doesn't even slow down a little.
Christmas Day is a normal working day, as far as most people are concerned. Ditto Christmas Eve and Boxing Day - and the latter's practically unheard of.
If you usually spend the 25th at home with food, booze, and board games, you might wonder what the difference is. It's that you probably don't have the day off.
Sure, Christmas Day is a Sunday this year. Shops which usually shut on a weekend still will. A lot of them won't. If you're in the mood for a spending spree, go right ahead. Don't expect loads of sales just yet, some won't start until the New Year.
Let's say your company's in the habit of calling you to the office on weekends. After all, you aren't exempt from working Sundays. Christmas rolls around. Do you get a reprieve?
Depends how much holiday time you've got.
The minimum legal amount of paid leave for full-time workers is 10 days per year. Once you've been employed for at least 6 months. And worked at least 80% of the days/hours you were meant to. So you might not have the time available to spend your Christmas away from the office.
(Interestingly, in Japan you can often get all national holidays off work... but, uh, legally you aren't entitled to be paid for those. And Christmas Day isn't one of them. Sorry.)
The only national holiday in late December is the 23rd. That day is Tennou Tanjoubi, the Emperor's birthday. Nothing to do with Christmas.
That it's even in December is pure coincidence. When there's a new Emperor, their birthday becomes a national holiday instead. Wave goodbye to your extra December day off.
So Christmas Day itself carries on as normal.
That's bound to feel anti-climactic. For anyone who's been in Japan for the preceding month or 2, Christmas will have been unavoidable. And on the actual day... nothing much.
From the previous 11 posts I've made, you'd think Christmas in Japan was 'a thing'. It sure is. But instead of Christmas Day being the main event, by the 25th, it's more or less over.