Posted by: David Stewart | December 25, 2008

Christmas in Japan and China

For the past 6 or so years of traveling to China for work, it’s been fun to see how much Santa Claus has been appearing there. This year I visited Japan for the first time since 2005, and western-style Christmas is making an appearance here too. Here is the famous Akasaka Prince Hotel in Tokyo, decked out as a huge Christmas tree:

Akasaka Prince Hotel

I stayed in the New Otani hotel, not far from the Akasaka Prince, and they had a huge Christmas Wreath in the lobby:

Christmas display, New Otani Hotel, Tokyo

Here in the Shinjuku Train Station, it’s the busiest station in all of Tokyo with a sizable shopping area. The halls were throbbing with full-tilt Christmas music, being sung in one of the shops:

Christmas in Tokyo, Shinjuku train station

Walking around several parts of town at night, it was common to see lights in festive displays. Here are some near Roppongi:

Christmas in Tokyo

And here is a building wrap on Dogenzaka Hill, not far from Shibuya Station, where I went running one morning:
Ad in Dogenzaka Hill, Tokyo

But as I said, jolly old St. Nick is a common sight now in China. But the funniest thing is the Christmas Question I got from some of my staff in China. More on that later.

My usual hotel in Shanghai is usually pretty tricked out anyway. (Remember, this is the hotel that hosts the Shanghai Octoberfest). But this year – Oh my! – the Christmas decorations were about as goofy as I could imagine:

Lobby of Renaissance Hotel, Shanghai
Lobby of Renaissance Hotel, Shanghai
Lobby of Renaissance Hotel, Shanghai

In contrast, the Sheraton Hotel, next door to my usual Renaissance was the model of understated elegance, as befits this more expensive elegant abode:

Lobby of Sheraton Hotel, Shanghai

Ah, now the Chinese Question from my local staff! When I asked them about Christmas in China and what it means to them, they said, well Christmas is pretty much just commercial in China, a chance to sell people more things. They asked, “Is Christmas a lot less commercial in the US?”

After choking down inappropriate laughter at this innocent question, I said, “People do give each other gifts at Christmas in the US. The reason why people give each other gifts at Christmas is because God gave us the greatest gift of all, his Son. So we give gifts to each other to symbolize this.”

Like how i dodged that one?



  1. […] 6. Le sapin sans sapin mais qui brille dans la nuit quand même (hotel au japon ici) […]

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