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Land of the Rising Mickey - Christmas at Tokyo Disneyland
Page 1 of 34

by Marc Borrelli (archives)
December 25, 2001
In this December 25th edition of Land of the Rising Mickey, Marc Borrelli talks a bit about Christmas in Japan and sends a present over 100 pictures of the festive and touching ways Christmas is celebrated at the Tokyo Disney Resort

In this December 25th edition of Land of the Rising Mickey, Marc Borrelli talks a bit about Christmas in Japan and sends a present - over 130 pictures of the festive and touching ways Christmas is celebrated at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Be sure to check out Marc Borrelli's for even more new pictures of Christmas at the Tokyo Disney Resort.

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    Tokyo Disneyland
    World Bazaar - Page 1
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    World Bazaar - Page 2
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    World Bazaar - Page 3
  • Page 5
    Adventureland's Royal Street
  • Page 6
    Central Plaza - Page 1
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    Central Plaza - Page 2
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  • Page 10
    Counry Bear Jingle Bell Jamboree - Page 1
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    Counry Bear Jingle Bell Jamboree - Page 2
  • Page 12
    Critter Country
  • Page 13
    Toontown - Page 1
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    Toontown - Page 2
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    Entrance and World Bazaar in the Evening - Page 1
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    Entrance and World Bazaar in the Evening - Page 2
  • Page 18
    Christmas For You Castle Show - Page 1
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    Christmas For You Castle Show - Page 2
  • Page 20
    Santa's Wonderland Parade - Page 1
  • Page 21
    Santa's Wonderland Parade - Page 2
  • Page 22
    Santa's Wonderland Parade - Page 3
  • Page 23
    Tokyo DisneySea
    Mediterranean Harbor - Page 1
  • Page 24
    Mediterranean Harbor - Page 2
  • Page 25
    American Waterfront, New York - Page 1
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    American Waterfront, New York - Page 2
  • Page 27
    American Waterfront, Cape Cod - Page 1
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    American Waterfront, Cape Cod - Page 2
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    American Waterfront, New York in the Evening
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    Outside the Parks
    Hotel MiraCosta
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    Bon Voyage
  • Page 32
    Ikspiari's Piari Christmas
  • Page 33
    Ambassador Hotel - Page 1
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    Ambassador Hotel - Page 2
    Discuss It
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Introduction - Christmas 2001
Christmas in Japan?? But less than 1 percent of the country's population identify themselves as Christian...  Well, that's beside the point. Japan loves western images almost as much as it loves food and festivals, and Christmas has them all.

Despite being sandwiched between the Emperor's birthday on the 23rd (a national holiday) and the beginning of the week-long string of national holidays surrounding the first day of the new year, there's not a chance that Christmas would be passed up. And just like virtually everything else from outside the country that Japanese society gets a hold of, the surface trappings of Christmas are there, but the original meanings have been thrown out and replaced with a definition more relevant to Japan.

Christmas in Japan isn't at all about Jesus, it's about strawberries coming into season and Christmas cake -

P01-100.jpg (29060 bytes)

It's about Santa Claus and decorations -

P01-101.jpg (35458 bytes)

It's about presents -

P01-102.jpg (28830 bytes)

The halls of the department stores (depato) are decked, busy with shoppers, and all the familiar Christmas songs are pumping through the speakers.

It's about drumsticks -

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Kentucky Fried Chicken... Due to the tradition of turkey drumsticks and, increasingly, chicken drumsticks, KFC is a popular fixture on the landscape of Christmas in Japan. They sell handy sets (seto) of chicken, salads, and Christmas cake. KFC's commercials (they're playing on the video monitor in the above picture) feature colorful glowing buckets of chicken falling from the sky as if they were a gentle, magical, snowfall... The ads have a heartwarming feel that, to this American, seems much more apropos to a commercial for Hallmark or... Disneyland.

It's about champagne -

P01-104.jpg (11328 bytes)
Champagne is for Christmas Eve,
not New Year's Eve.
P01-105.jpg (10303 bytes)
...and there's sparkling juice
for the kids.

But more than any of those things, Christmas in Japan is about - romance.

It's the dating season. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, lovers holding hands (the young women in their "Santa Claus" red jackets, white skirts, white scarves, and black boots) can be seen everywhere. An invitation for a Christmas Eve date is often a meaningful statement of the desire for a serious relationship. Expensive restaurants and hotels are booked solid, despite their inflated rates for the night. Many older married couples enjoy an evening of entertainment, taking in a stage show or a musical performance, again at an inflated price.

But there's an ultimate Christmas season date destination in Tokyo - Tokyo Disneyland, of course! (Has it become clear yet that Tokyo Disneyland simply can't lose? It snapped into Japan like the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle.)

As with many Americans, the real celebration for Japanese is on the evening of the 24th, but unlike in America, on Christmas Day it all stops. The 25th isn't a national holiday and everyone's back to work, with their attention turned to the upcoming six days of tradition and celebration that surround the coming of the new year.

It's no different at the Tokyo Disney Resort. The night of December 25th is a busy one. Everything comes down. A guest arriving on December 26th would have no idea that the place, especially Tokyo Disneyland, had been overflowing with Christmas cheer.

But I have photographic proof, lots of photographic proof. :)



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