May 25th, 2024

Christmas a special time of year around the world

By Letter to the Editor on December 11, 2021.

We will be in Toronto for Christmas with my family. It’s extra special this year because it has been two years since we saw them last.
Both Christian and Jewish family members love turkey: no problem there. When Hanukkah coincides with Christmas, Savta (grandmother) says Hanukkah blessing in Hebrew. After dinner, we open presents. Who cares, it’s a Christian custom. Everybody loves presents.
One year, another family unexpectedly joined us because of an ice storm: they lost power. The man of the host family went out on Christmas Eve to a drug-store that was open 24 hours to get a few things for children who had no presents under the tree.
Some of us sneaked out to attend the midnight Mass at the nearby Anglican Church.
Our grandchildren used to prepare a table in front of the fireplace with milk and cookies for Santa. I don’t think they’ll do it this year not because it’s a Christian thing but because they’ve grown up.
In Japan, Christmas is strictly a church affair. They don’t celebrate it at home because Christians are mostly converts. Often they are the only Christian in a family. They come to church to celebrate Christmas, candle-light service, dinner, presents, etc. The dinner is not turkey. At the church I grew up, the youth group often prepared a huge hot pot of miso stew.
We set up a big cast-iron wok in the middle of the room, and everyone added their own ingredients into the miso-based broth: chopped up vegetables of all kinds, fish cakes, and many kinds of bite-size chopped up meats; and cooked it while singing carols. We exchanged presents after dinner and played games. Nowadays, I hear it’s KFC.
Of course, Christmas comes with different food from country to country. When we lived in Switzerland, during advent often we were invited to house parties with oranges, walnuts, mulled wine, and conversation. We roasted a goose on Christmas Day though I hear turkey is increasingly popular nowadays.
The streets of Tokyo during Christmas time do not look any different from Canadian downtowns. People are shopping like mad for traditional “Oseibo” – end of the year presents (not for Christmas), stores are in full glory, a giant balloon Santa Claus swaying in the sky. The air is filled with Christmas carols.
Men buy cakes to take home on Christmas Eve. I don’t know why. They greet each other “Merry Christmas” in English with a heavy Japanese accent, “Melie Kulisumasu.” But they are not Christians.
In Lesotho, Southern Africa, cooking turkey is not recommended. Christmas comes during the hottest time of the year. You get sick of the fatty smell of the turkey roasting for many hours. A Canadian friend tried it. 
She could not eat the dinner she prepared. People wait until sundown and go to the football field for “Carols with Candlelight.”
Air is nice and cool. A whole town shows up and sings Christmas Carols. If the Christmas pageant is staged it looks like an authentic manger scene in Bethlehem. Shepherd boys bring in a real donkey with Mary on the back accompanied by a few live sheep.
Hanukkah Sameach! Merry Christmas! Shin-nen Omedetoh!
Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui

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Fedup Conservative

Thanks Tad for sharing . I saw my sister for the first time in two years in October when we spent 3 weeks in B.C.


Hoping you walked, ran or rode your bike with steel rims on the ground FC! Because if you took any mode of “Fossil Fuel” transportation to B.C. Then you join the ranks of David Suzuki for the Hypocrite of the year award!


We have a 250 year old economy and modern infrastructure based on fossil fuels. We are all currently dependent on them. How in the world does it make one a hypocrite to acknowledge that we have to phase them out to preserve a planet livable for humankind?

If you are riding a train travelling full steam into a cliff, jumping off is not plausible, does it make you a hypocrite to suggest braking? Are the only purists the ones that are sitting slack-jawed in their seats reading Postmedia?

Fedup Conservative

You have it right and the oil industry knows it. Oilmen have been stating for years that the worse enemy they have are these damn Reformers and the fools that support them .
That’s why electric cars and trucks are in the works

Fedup Conservative

Maybe you should get your head out of your ass and get in the real world. Do you honestly think that a guy who had ties to the oil industry for 32 years doesn’t support them???
I also support the fact that the industry knows something has to be done about our pollution problem and is trying to do it, while these stupid Reformers and the idiots who support them are trying to stop them.
Why don’t you wake up and start by googling these articles.
“Shell and Silicon Ranch To Build Solar Project in Canada”
” Travers Solar Power , Alberta”
Have you noticed that you idiots, that support Kenney, are now down to only 20% making you look like damn fools. True conservatives call you traitors and lawyers continue to think you are going to get yourselves sued if you don’t shut up. The people you and Kenney have hurt continues to take it’s toll.
But don’t take my word for it find yourself a lawyer yo talk to.

Fedup Conservative

One of the guys at coffee this morning made a good point. I wonder if arrogant Kenney bothered to ask our oil executives what they thought about Suzuki’s comments. We think the executives would agree with him, they know what Weibo Ludwig did to them. Did you notice none of the oil executives were bashing Suzuki like Kenney and his ignorant followers were.
Another guy reminded us of the lawyer friend who used to say “ I wonder what it’s like being so stupid you can’t think for yourself and have to have a drunkard like Ralph Klein do it for you”. Now these ignorant seniors are letting Kenney do it for them, nothing has changed they still aren’t able to do it.