Santa's hat and chair on the beach

Santa’s hat and chair on the beach

Home Away From Home
Spending the holiday season in Okinawa? We’ve got some ideas to make it feel more like Christmas.

Lights, Camera, Action!
Back home you may have spent days if not weeks decorating your house with lights or admiring your neighbour’s handywork. Here in Okinawa you won’t find too many decorated houses, but there’s some great lightshows to entertain the family.
One of the most popular, organised events is the “Christmas Fantasy Show” at Okinawa Zoo Park. This year it’s taking place from Friday 23 December to Wednesday 28 December and includes a laser show, lights everywhere, fireworks and snow. Ticket prices range from 1000-2000 yen. Visit www.xmas-fantasy.com for more information.
If you live further North the Kanucha Resort has a massive display of over 1,000,000 lights from the beginning of November through to February. It’s a great location for a romantic stroll and maybe dinner in one of the restaurants. Call for details as they close to the public over the main christmas holiday.
If you want to combine some shopping with illuminations then check out the Ashibina Outlet Mall near Naha. You can view the lights and get a great deal on your christmas presents at the same time.

Yum…
No christmas celebration would be complete without some festive food. As we discussed last year KFC is often the party food of choice for both Okinawans and Japanese at christmas. If you don’t fancy KFC or have had enough turkey after thanksgiving then the great thing about living in Japan is that because it’s not a national holiday you can dine out on whatever choice of food you prefer. If you love sushi, most of the major supermarkets prepare party platters at this time of year which make a great alternative to the traditional turkey!

End of Year Traditions
The end of the year and the new year that follows are a season for more celebration in Japan than the Western import of Christmas. Traditionally New Year in Japan is the time for family to get together.
If you work for a Japanese company or are out over the festive period, you may be involved in or see “bonenkai” which means “forget the old year parties”. It’s not uncommon during the party season to regularly see groups of totally intoxicated workers out for the night, and in true customary fashion any indiscretions are forgotten at work the next day!

Final Ideas
Why not do something you couldn’t do back home over Christmas? Go diving, walk on the beach or how about reflect on the year at the Peace Memorial Park. Whatever you do have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!