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Why do you think that Christmas decorations and illumination displays are put up so early in Japan?

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So stores can make money, of course.

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I don't think they are put up early here at all. Were there any displays lit up before November? None around my area were. Christmas decorations and displays in public places are for added colour and sales-enhancement. Nothing more, nothing less. And exactly the same applies in Christian-based countries.

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To encourage social interaction with the opposite sex. OMG I don't have a date yet for Dec 24...

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I like them early, but that is one opinion only. :)

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Because people like to say "Woooo, Shiney"!

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They went up after Hallowe'en. About on a par with other consumer societies.

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If they were up in early October, I'd consider that early. November seems about par for the course.

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I think it is partly commercial, but not so much for people to buy gifts for Christmas. These big illumination displays at places like Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi Hills, Shinjuku Times Square, Odaiba, etc draw visitors to see the pretty lights and while they are there, they usually check out the shops, cafes and restaurants.

I think another reason may be to cheer people up. Japanese society has become very gloomy. I know that last year, our office got a Christmas tree for the first time and when I put it up at the end of November, everyone became cheerful talking about it, especially the Japanese staff who helped decorate the tree. Now that it is getting cold and dark early, and there is still no good economic news for most workers, these illuminations are like a lighthouse. I know that I enjoy looking at them.

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Because they like to attract idiots who will stand and stare like fools going:

Girl- "kawaii!"

Boy- "Kawaii ne..."

Then they go and sit in MacDonalds for 3 hours with 1 cup of coffee and a small size portion of fries between them.

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because Japan likes wasting electricity.

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Were there any displays lit up before November?

They would have done that had they not spent the WHOLE of October celebrating Halloween. I am already sick to death of all the Xmas songs and carols. You just cannot avoid them. I'm surprised the Japanese haven't discovered Easter (another biggie for the chocolate industry) and Thanksgiving.

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As I say every year when this question comes up on JT (how sad is that), the decorations are put up to give the miserable gaijin community in Japan something else to whine about.

By the way, here in Canada we've had decorations up in shops since November 1st.

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So they can take them down early. Xmas is cold in Japan. very cold :(

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UnagiDon, they do exactly the same thing here in Australia - starting on the same date (I know because it's my birthday)

Once - just once mind you, please desist and put up a monument to me :-)

It might not be for religous reasons but why deny the Japanese, or anybody else, their Christmas fun. I'm mostly atheist but I enjoy Christmas festivities, wanna ban me too?

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I know this guy that never took his down... He liked looking at his outdoor illuminated fir tree, and decided to keep it, year through... 'Made me smile in Summer, seeing the lights still brightly shining...

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Japan is certainly no exception here, and I guess for retail outlets, putting up Christmas decorations in early-mid November is acceptable. Last time I went to Costco in September, they had all their Christmas decorations on sale - now THAT'S early..

The neighbourhood where I live is quite famous among the locals for the amount of Christmas lights put up (think National Lampoon's Christmas), and this year some houses have already put up theirs up - it's definitely at least a week or two earlier than last year, and feels a bit early imho.

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Probably to keep the minds of the people off the real issues and focused on the cute lighting displays that adorn most of the country for the next 2 months. And another thing, stop lecturing me about wasting energy when you have these illuminations going on all over the place.

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Christmas in Japan is awesome. I like it because they took all the religion out of it and kept the romantic fantasy.

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I tracked it back to December 1946. But that's another story.

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Because they do not understand the true meaning of "Christ"mas.

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I've seen some Ichikawa JR Station put up full Christmas lights around Oct. 09, 2010. Sooooooooo, yes it's alittle tooooooooo early. I felt sick because the lights were before Halloween.

My own rule is if it's one color christmas illumination ( especially blue light ) it has to be some spectacular sh!t i've never seen before. But since I've been working Japan for 5 years (not married yet Yessssss with my own working visa d-o-u-b-l-e yessssssssss !!!!) If it's not spectacular (sh!t) single color illumination than I'm not impressed I will ridicule it until my heart is truly content.

Because we all know multi coored christmas trees are more cool ! !

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multi colored XMAS lights are the best !!!!

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To sell more crap that nobody needs. Duh.

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american_bengoshi

What's worse though, people who celebrate Christmas who don't understand it's true meaning? Or those who know the true meaning, but choose to ignore it and celebrate Christmas in secular ways?

whiskeysour

methinks you've had a bit too much whiskey for breakfast.

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Christmas is a time for being with friends, family, loved ones. Who gives a damn about the religious meaning - Jesus wasn't even born on Dec 25th anyway. Japan is great because religion is taken with a pinch of salt.

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It's the same everywhere, because Xmas here and in the US and all the other celebrant countries is all about commercial, consumerist orgies of shopping.

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what's wrong with Japanese christmas being not religious or people not understanding the true meaning of Christmas?? I think it's totally fine as some of you stated Japan is not a Christian country anyways... People getting KFC chicken to bring home and eat with friends and family, to me, that seems like a happy time and people enjoy Christmas... so, nothing wrong and I'd say just enjoy it!!

And yes, it is commercial, but it's not just Japan. Many/Most American children get LOTS OF presents from parents, relatives and grandparents.. Tell me if that's not commercial. Japanese children get a few presents and a gift from Santa.

My point is... It's a fun time and I don't know why people here (JT) complain about J-Christmas.. Non-Christians can enjoy Christmas, too, right?? And it doesn't have to be spiritual or religious.. People can enjoy Christmas like an American Valentine's Day!! Fun fun fun.. and I like it :)

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It is because up until now nobody had the idea to put up autumn illumination displays.

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(failed attempts) to come out from chronic recession !

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porter - Good one.

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@Sarge you also missed the question. The question is "why do u think......put up so early in Japan?"

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Because it looks nice.

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Well if America didn't have Thanksgiving we would already be focused on Christmas, and some of us are.

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@some14some: The anticipation is built up, especially for the kids. It also helps the stores create theme sales for a longer period.

In the US, it would be a poor business decision to decorate for Xmas before Thanksgiving. Japan has imported Xmas and re-fit it for the Japan market. In fact, given the global spread of the fantasy story called Xmas, no country has the "correct" or "standard" method. One thing is for sure, Japanese consumers don't wants to be burdoned with a religious guilt trip about the holiday season.

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For the same reason they do it in the U.S. - get people shopping and spending earlier. The economy needs a boost, so retailers are lowering prices and having big sales before "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving when big sales used to begin. Really, Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten holiday in some ways. Christmas stuff begins earlier and earlier every year, it seems.

There are many stores here (Midwest U.S.) already decorated for Christmas, there is one radio station already playing ALL Christmas music, and many people have already put up their outside decorations - but that may be because folks took advantage of the brief spell of warmish weather we had last week. Easier to hang lights when you're not freezing your bits off.

I suppose the decorations and illuminations also help lift the mood. The gray and gloomy days of November can get you down!

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November 1st seems pretty average to me.

You can argue that American/western Christmas is commercial as well (as Japan), but Japan is way more so. In Japan you only buy gifts for the kids or maybe your sweetheart. Buying gifts for other people is not common. In other cultures it's about the spirit of giving, but in Japan it's about giving your kids/gfbf "stuff."

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Buying gifts for other people is not common.

Except that Christmas overlaps with the oseibo gift-giving season. Folk I give Christmas present to, I don't give oseibo. Folk I give oseibo don't get Christmas presents. Buying gifts for other people is very common in Japan. They just aren't called Christmas gifts, is all.

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Simple, Christmas decorations look a whole lot better than those awful bamboo, pine and oranges they "decorate" with for New Years. So, if you're gonna be stuck looking at something for over a month, it might as well be pretty. Besides, as someone said, they remove some of the gloom everyone feels around now with the days getting shorter and shorter.

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They are all over the world - Japan not any earlier!!

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What's worse though, people who celebrate Christmas who don't understand it's true meaning? Or those who know the true meaning, but choose to ignore it and celebrate Christmas in secular ways?

papasmurfinjapan: Very good point. I totally agree with you on that. Sadly it is true for many in the US.

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Wakarimasen

I saw decorations in Mitsukoshi on Oct 26, so I would say that in general, the decorations do go up earlier in Japan than in many other countries.

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Cleo-

Buying gifts for other people is very common in Japan. They just aren't called Christmas gifts, is all.

I agree!! :)

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They are put up early because Japanese customers need to be reminded of the shopping season. They cannot decide fast what to buy; so they start thinking about it and looking for it until they finally buy something at Christmas time. If they are put up late, 50% will not be able to decide what to buy! It is about decision-making, in the end!

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The only part of the christmas Japan celebrates is the shopping. Businesses think earlier they start, more money they're going to make.

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Well, it is pretty dull in winter without them.

Thanksgiving? A great chance for Americans to lie about history. A tradition borne from the help given by the native Americans in the first years of settlement. Now, it is plugged as a harvest celebration. :D
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Oh, and to be fair, Australia Day (Jan 26) is known as 'Invasion Day' by the native Australians.

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No papasmurfin you should ask Brainy smurf about the whole christmas lighting !!!!!

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Because it's meaningless here and it's done early to get it over with quickly.

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$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

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If they were up in early October, I'd consider that early. November seems about par for the course.

Here in the UK there is no sign of Christmas decorations in shops yet - that does not really start until December.

However, if you think Christmas is too early in Japan, think what it must be like for Santa and his elves building all those toys over in Lapland.

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for stores in the us its Way too early & it Bugs me & many people. BUT for the city & peoples houses they decorate about the middle of NOV. and to answer your question No one has seem to yet. The Japanese Like christmas Lights, & Trees & displays well in Hokkaido, or anywhere there is Snow.

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not just in japan. this will be my second xmas in the US after 7 years in japan and xmas decorations went up here in LA 2 weeks ago. cant wait to get back to japan in may, i much preferr xmas there, its less ubiquitous.

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I am sure it's part of the "Make Christmas every day!" campaign. Give it a decade or so...

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agree with many others on here, it's no different anywhere else. Last week America started christmas music, and back in october christmas decorations were put up in all the stores. I know people who already have christmas trees up in their homes.

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In Japan, the meaning of Christmas has no religious significance. This is more about retail business trying to sell more products during the holiday season. Does any Japanese know the real meaning of Christmas or do they know Mary, the mother of Jesus who was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, and what it represents?

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Does any Japanese know the real meaning of Christmas or do they know Mary, the mother of Jesus who was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, and what it represents?

Some Japanese are Christian, and assuming thier like their Western counter parts, a percentage of them know what Christmas was and what it represents. As well my nephew was going to a buddhist youchien and they asked me if I know any Christmas songs that weren't religious for them to sing. So at the very least the know part of Christmas is suppose to Relgious.

Or those who know the true meaning, but choose to ignore it and celebrate Christmas in secular ways?

Considering the origins of the Christmas Tree, Santa Clause, Misletoe, Holly wreaths, the date, et al. The way Secular people celebrate Christmas is more appropriate as it's not an affront to a god they don't believe in.

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Good_Jorb at 06:19 AM JST - 18th November. Some Japanese are Christian,

Less than 1 percent? So other 99 percent really don't know the true meaning or they know in a vague way?

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So other 99 percent really don't know the true meaning or they know in a vague way?

Depends on the "True Meaning" of Christmas, considering the word Christmas or the Celebration of Christmas is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible and probable is more then a few months off of when Jesus was actually born, and is rife with pagan symbolism. They know as much about the true meaning of Christmas, as most do, that it has Religious meaning.

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Put up so early to waste electricity. And then when someone complains about how early they are up, they can call them Scrooge. At least that is what all the mindless rednecks do in Canada. I wonder about here.

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i agree with good jorb and others the real meaning ,,which a quick look in any encyclopaedia will tell you the origins, and if true christians celebrated them or not,,,, Christmas was just another incorporation to get pagans united with christians, lets celebrate the birth of the roman sun god, Dec 25th wahooooo haloween,,lets get Satan to come to our house wahooooo Of course Christmas is a materialistic time of year when people 'expect' presents we should give gifts when we want to , from our heart, not when custom dictates we should so yes the colourful tackiness comes to a store near you ,.....again!

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Because it's the Second Pain of Christmas?

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one thing I dont like about Xmas here is how fast the lights & everything come down, it can be hard to find a trace of xmas a couple days after here

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I heard Christmas music at my local grocery store here in Japan in September. Talk about ridiculous!

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Early Christmas lights are great. Why do some people care so much about if others know the "true meaning" of christmas? Does it matter if they do?

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I live in Hokkaido and I have seen Christmas decorations in October! Talk about jumping the gun.

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I doubt it happens only in Japan.

From my experience, stores in Canada tend to start decorating for Christmas on November 1st, which is right after the Halloween decoration cleanup, so, they can magically convert their leftover Halloween candies to convenient Christmas candies.

Things might be different if Canada were more tropical. I mean, who would want to hang stupid light-bulbs in December, when sunrise is at 9am and sunsets at 4:30pm, with temperature outside being -30C, blizzard piercing your face, climbing on to the slippery and cold frozen ladder, wearing jacket made of fresh baby seals and getting frostbite ending up with no feet.

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Marketing, sales, money, all those reasons..

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To make money of course. Christmas is so commercialized in Japan (and in many other countries, actually). Anyway, I think it's rather late when compared with the Philippines. Christmas starts in August there!

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Illumination in my area I would call seasonal rather than Christmas. Usually very tasetful done with the biggest one having a counter for the "New Years Countdown".

Been lit since early November and will remain lit till into January

Now if they would just realise that "Last Christmas" was soo "last" decades ago.

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I doubt it happens only in Japan.

From my experience, stores in Canada tend to start decorating for Christmas on November 1st, which is right after the Halloween decoration cleanup,

Ditto the UK. Here it is Nov 6th, day after Guy Fawkes Night. Although the stores have been selling X-mas stuff since early October.

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Who cares?

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I like it. With all the murder and mayhem going on in the world, why be upset about Christmas decorations. Most of Tokyo looks so drab that it's nice to see lights - especially if you have little kids. Valentines Days, Halloween, Christmas - it's all good. Kids love it, and makes them smile. Is that so bad?

So yeah, it's a little early, it's not traditionally Japanese culture, but every country borrows stuff and Christmas is different everywhere. Lights, food, cakes, wine, music, there are worse things in the world.

(

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For the same damn reason they are going up earlier each year in NA to try and sell more crap.

A few years ago I saw a great editorial cartoon, above the store entrance it was written "Happy Hallowthankmass" and the caption went something like this; Store manager talking to customer "It is more cost efficient this way"!.

Got to love it and hate it at the same time!

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Why haven't the Japanese copied the culture of making 24 Dec to the new year one big holiday?

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Pukey2:"Why haven't the Japanese copied the culture of making 24 Dec to the new year one big holiday?"

Not even close most public schools still don't end till the 25th or 26th most offices are still open until the 29th at least (well at least in the real Japan and not the "gaishuke" world) but the "bonenkai" season is starting earlier every year, on Sunday just ran in to my first seasonal alcohol traffic check, so I figure I'm in for a lot of these this year seeing I work evenings a lot, normally don't start seeing them till December don't really mind them especially the ones near my home all the cops know me and they know I don't (can't) drink so just wave me on through.

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*Pukey2 Why haven't the Japanese copied the culture of making 24 Dec to the new year one big holida

y*?

well, japanese being over 80% buddhist would explain why they don;t take a holiday on christ's b-day. lights are just for advertising & enjoyment also as many households also decorate. as for doing it too early, it's a lot of work putting up decorations , so kind of wasteful if only doing it for such a short time. from november is cool. lightens the mood as well.

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Everything in Japan comes down to one thing ... MONEY!

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*NuckinFutz Everything in Japan comes down to one thing ... MONEY

!*is there another country where it comes down to something else besides money ??

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I am not christian but I am looking forward every year to spend Christmas time with my family. For me, this is a celebration of family life. This year, Christmas will be a Saturday, so my wife and her parents will be able to attend. We will have a Christmas Eve dinner with my wife and toddler son, then a Christmas lunch with her parents (mine are far away...), and probably some friends will join later in the day. I will spend a fair amount of time cooking some specialities and desserts, and we will just spend time together at home. Last year, as we were poorer, we didn't even exchange gifts, but who cares, as long as you are with your loved ones.

Nothing religious, nothing materialistic: just the love of your family and your friends. And nobody cares whether you buy some chocolates or some KFC chicken. Buy some good food (Japanese, Western, Chinese, ... doesn't matter), some nice drinks, and spend some quality time with the people you love.

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Good sentiment Piglet. You don't have to be Christian to like Christmas, you can be thankful to your family and life in general on thanksgiving, and you don't have to be buddhist to enjoy going to a an old temple in a beautiful location every now and then. A break from work to enjoy friends, family, nature life. It's all good.

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All of our traditions are borrowed, changed, made up anyway.

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Commercialization of anything is the new foundation of the Japanese economy.

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Oh yeah? I don't see anything like that here in Toyota City...! I only see cars (mostly Toyotas), houses, apartments, konbinis and such.

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I will finally take my entire family back to Mexico this year so I could care less about illuminations in Omotesando etc..being too early. I want my tamales, menudo, real Mexican food for Christmas!

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Do they? ... same as in the UK it seem

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@Piglet

Awesome post. You completely hit the nail on the head. I wish you a very Merry Christmas this year with your nice family.

I can't believe the Scrooges posting here. The Christmas lights in japan are really nice... go and enjoy them with family, friends or bf/gf! If they start in November that's all the more time to enjoy them.

What kind of person would start scowling when they see something as harmless as Christmas lights??!!

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anything that brings them out or fukeki (resession) the better ...bring on xmas ..but save the planet and dont have all the lights on all night OK ?

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They go up early everywhere, not just Japan. Why? Tastefully done, they're pretty, but yes, like everywhere else, it's a lot about encouraging early shopping.

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There's one reason and one reason alone - to encourage people to spend money. But it doesn't work - this is Japan, remember; people don't spend money, they save it.

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Japan is not Christian but the Christmas is a big event for most of Japanese as for Americans. I am also really looking forward to Christmas!! For Children, they can get some presents even that day is not their birthday and for companies, it is good chance to sale many products as presents that season and for couples, they can spend special time at that time! I think one of reasons why the Christmas decorations and illumination displays are put up early in Japan is these things make us good motivation for Christmas!! I love this season so much!

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I would rather spend my money on Potato Latkes and Kinishes then on christmas decorations. I do like the outfit on the Col. though. I wish they would dress him up in other outfits too.

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Because they have to finish the Christmas decorations on 25 december precisely. The new year is more important for Japanese, so they have to change everything especially in shopping centers or supermarkets. On 26 dec. the promotion for the new year begins. They don't have much time. Thus they have to begin the Christmas decoration early.

Christmas is for fun and gift, which help Japanese economy stimulate. The new year is traditional with families, which push up the economy, too.

I don't think all the illuminations are for Christmas. You can feel warm in the winter time by seeing illumination light.

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To attract people to shopping areas ... it is a subliminal billboard that says "come here. look. stay awhile. On DEC 26 it will all be gone".

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For me the issue is not so much the time the lights go on as the fact that we have nearly two months of promotion for Christmas, and then five years out of seven Daddy doesn't even get to spend time with his kids. Has to struggle in on the drone train, looking at all the commercials promoting something that didn't really happen.

Not an issue in my house - it'll be a cold day in Hell before you get me at the grindstone on Christmas Day. I'm not looking forward to the day when I have to send my daughter to school on 25th, though. A few more years yet.

Either have a holiday or don't have it. There's no point in promoting something for months, shelling out hand over fist for gifts, and then treating it like a workday.

Make a decision. Ooops, I forgot where I was for a moment.

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Not only Japan. Everyone's doing it, and why not, we all need cheering up a bit and with the advent of the LED we can do so with a cleaner conscience. Merry Crimbo everyone.

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In New York when I was a kid the Christmas season began at the end of the Thanksgiving Day parade, where Santa Claus always brought up the rear.

That seems like a good enough time to start it; you had Halloween at the end of October, Thanksgiving in November, then Christmas in December. Holidays at one-month intervals.

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I think it is good thing, because Christmas decorations and illumination make us happy. I think it is tactics by company that put up so early in Japan. It makes us buying presents for Christmas. My tension is high to be Christmas atmosphere in the world. I am exciting to see illumination. I have to early prepare Christmas tree in my house.

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