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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Smash Christmas!

There is a movement afoot in Japan that might seem strange on one hand, but perfectly normal on the other. I am talking about the recent phenomenon called 'Smash Christmas'.

On Saturday December 19, 2015, about 20 Japanese men - a Communist-inspired group called "Losers with Women" took to the streets of Tokyo to protest against Christmas.

Don't let the fact that they are a communist-type group bother you, comrade. Rather revel in the fact that they are protesting against Japan's fascination with accepting and rolling over onto its back for Western holidays.

It's not just a group that is against Christmas, but against all forms of commercials via holidays.

Still... I can understand this group's lack of love for Christmas.

Japan is a land of Buddhism and Shintoism... there are very few converts to Christianity there  - and I'm not talking about the foreign contingent.

While there may be up to 3-million Japanese Christians in Japan, Christianity (キリスト教 Kirisuto-kyō) still only makes up about less than one percent of the populations faith.

Surely marketers in the savvy economic world of Japan aren't peppering capitalism with Christianity when it's only such a small percentage of people?>

Japan... like the westerners they sometimes despise but secretly want to be like, has embraced the economic aspect of Christmas.

Blame KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) for the initial love affair with Christmas... thanks to a keen marketing program that goes back several decades (see HERE)... but for Japan, there is no Christ in Christmas... so this is not necessarily a religious holiday (holy day) in Japan, but one fraught with crass commercialism.

What? Someone against the commercialism of Christmas? No... they are actually against the commercialism of Japan by western marketers - despite what other media outlets decry... and for that... I actually applaud this group.

The group does need a better name, however. "Losers with Women."? Does that imply that they are losers who have women, or merely losers with women? It makes a difference.... but since the protest involved some 20 men, I would assume they are just losers with women who don't have a woman.

Well... at least they have each other.

The group of angry young men despise capitalism of Christmas for the fact that it is capitalism, but also because it discriminates against the single man.

Their 'Smash Christmas" banners were on full display as they marched in Tokyo's Shibuya-district where couples and families were shopping - probably for Christmas presents...

"In this world, money is extracted from people in love, and happy people support capitalism," says the group's leader."Christmas is the most symbolic event for this."

He - Mark Water - an alias - says that the rally was to support unloved men.

Heck... yeah... but maybe if you weren't so angry, you might find a nice woman... you know..., buy her something nice to impress upon her your affections... but no... that would mean you are buying into commercialism.

Not surprisingly, the group has also protested against Valentine's Day, though I am unsure why.

In Japan, February 14 is Valentine's Day, but it is the day for a woman to make her romantic intentions know by giving out valentines to the men (or other women, I suppose).

The Japanese men... they sit back on their butts and wait for the women to make the first move, and then after finding out which women would like them to be their valentine, the men reciprocate on March 14 aka White Day. You can read an old blog I did on Valentine's Day's origins and what is done in Japan HERE.

I look at Japan and Valentine's Day and wonder when all the adults became a bunch of pre-teens!

"I like him, does he like me?!"

Holy crap... the only adults I have ever seen give out Valentines are those who are dating or are already married.

There's no frickin' guesswork to determine if 'this is the one'.

Anyhow... I can see why one would protest against the commercialization of Christmas... a time when it is better to give rather than to receive... when we should be helping those less fortunate than ourselves rather than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on presents for people in our own family sure that they will reciprocate.

I'm guilty of that, but I do give charity when I can... even if it's an old pair of gloves or a couple of bucks. I'm not rich. Sometimes I can't even afford the gas to get to work. I'm not alone in this, either. I sure as heck can't afford a vacation or even a house. But I make sure my family has what it needs. Ask me again why I don't have a cell phone.

And you know what? I don't care. Those idiots in Japan are right about the commercialism of Christmas... but they just aren't right about why.

Now... I don't mean to put a downer on anyone... there's nothing wrong with buying presents if you can afford it... but it's not the true meaning of Christmas. Those guys are right... it shouldn't be about all those Boxing Day sales or Black Friday events... buying stuff you don't really need, but only buy because the things are on sale... but as long as you are, remember that there are many people less fortunate than ourselves who live on the streets for whatever reason... or kids whose single parent can't afford anything but to maybe pay the bills... help them out and rediscover what Christmas is really about.

It's not about commercialism... and it's not about Smash Christmas... it's about being a decent person.

I suppose these Japanese single men would like to be able to do something nice at Christmas... but their protest isn't the real Christmas way to go about doing it.

Sure... smash Christmas and its commercialism if you must, but at least get into the true spirit of what Christmas is really about.

And yeah... I'm guilty of falling into the commercialism of it all, too. And when I think about it like I am now... it doesn't make me overly happy.

Those people who volunteer at the Food Banks, or volunteer for other things.... like coaches and organizers for kid's sports... those who donate because they can... that's great. It doesn't even have to be at Christmas time... I've coached kid's soccer, baseball... and am helping out in hockey... you do what you can... it's not always about the money or the bling... it is the thought that counts, right?

People need a reminder about that every once in a while...

Have a merry Christmas, but give someone else a merry Christmas, too.

Smash Christmas? Sure... if you don't understand what it really means...

Andrew Joseph

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