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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Tired of reading “queer” Christmas lists of media that is either 1. produced by straight “gay icons,” 2. Says queer, means “gay cis men” instead of LGBTQ, 3. Has nothing to do with being queer?

Supporting queer artists is more important now than ever, as is self care. Here are few queer, winter/holiday-themed media to enjoy this holiday season. I’m most familiar with trying to get through Christmas (and criticizing the conspicuous consumption and white middle-class Christian hypocrisy thereof) because I grew up in a culturally Christian community, so I welcome suggestions for queer winter media from other faiths, as well as New-Year’s-themed queer media.

Be kind to yourselves.

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Halloween seems to be the new imported-holiday darling of the ’10s. As I wrote last year, businesses’ creating and selling Halloween-themed goods and services has exploded in the last 5 years, and yet, this isn’t the Halloween I celebrated as a child.

The most popular image from my coverage of Halloween 2011.

A comparison to Japanese Christmas may be helpful in understanding how imported holidays function. (more…)

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While Kanazawa (and most of Hokuriku) got its annual white Christmas, I got a set of Seishun 18 Tickets (青春18きっぷ) and my husband and I made the trek down to notably sunnier and warmer Kansai for the long weekend.*

Why Osaka at Christmas? For the German Christmas Market, which proved to not only be an entertaining night out but also a sociological experience!

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Mameshiba (豆しば)is one of my favorite short video series. In each 30-second episode, a bean of some sort–lentil, azuki, edamame–pops out of a diner’s food to convey a bit of trivia, the Japanese word for which is mame chishiki (豆知識), lit. bean knowledge. The facts are usually a bit awkward for the situation, like, “Female mantises eat male mantises.” Or, as the commenter lovelylexolicious writes for the prior video,

Storyline of mamashiba.
Random person is hungry, goes for a snack.
This random dog-like piece of food is found.
Mamashiba tells a random fact of trivia.
Person loses hunger and sets down mamashiba.
Mamashiba walks out like a BOSS!

You can watch all of the Mameshiba videos at the official site here or with English subtitles on the official site or on youtube.

Now, how does a Mameshiba celebrate Christmas?

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The area around Kanazawa Station(金沢駅) and the shopping districts of Kohrinbo (香林坊) and Tatemachi (竪町) are all aglow this month. It’s funny how some pretty LEDs can cheer you up about the typical Kanazawa winter weather–thundersnow (that deserves its own entry), clumpy snow, rain, sleet, hail, clouds, and all within the same hour.

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In case you were wondering about the Engrishy title of this series, “Let’s Merry” is the Starbucks Japan campaign slogan for the seasonal drinks. Update: AND the slogan for the Starbucks US holiday campaign?! Really?

Image from starbucks.co.jp

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This post is an entry in the December 2011 J Festa “Christmas in Japan,” hosted at japingu.

Being in Japan for the holidays means that I can choose my own holiday music if I feel like listening to it. Even though the stores are all playing Christmas Muzak, Japan’s retailers seem to work from a more limited playlist than the US and even have some of the Santa-oriented songs in Japanese, which means I don’t feel encounter these songs often.

A lot of songs that get played around the holidays are meant to make listeners think about peace on earth and goodwill toward others, but how many make you think about your sexual health? For that, there is “Little Taiko Boy.”

Image from "Little Taiko Boy" by All Out Attack Films.

On the official youtube page for All Out Attack Films, the project is described as follows:

Little Taiko Boy’s soundtrack is a safer-sex parody of the American Christmas carol “The Little Drummer Boy” interspersed with the slow rumble of a traditional Japanese taiko drum that sounds like a massive throbbing heart beat. Against this backdrop, several men meet in [Ni-Chome, Shinjuku,] Tokyo’s bathhouses, love hotels and cruising spots for intimate encounters, watched over by a glamorous drag version of Amaterasu Omikami, the Shinto goddess of the Sun played by Japanese activist and artist MADAME BONJOUR JOHNJ. Like a queer Santa Claus, the goddess leaves each couple a condom in a bejeweled wrapper as a gift and blessing for the night.

Any video that contains the phrase “like a queer Santa Claus” deserves a watch, don’t you think? This video, embedded below, is not safe for work for partial nudity and language.

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My mother usually makes three kinds of Christmas cookies: gingerbread cut-outs, white-velvet cutouts (sugar cookies with cream cheese in the batter), and press cookies. The press cookies are my favorite. We originally had a Mirro cookie press, which functioned like a cross between a coffee press and an icing bag with a tip. Dough was put into a metal tube and pushed out with a plunger through a disk with a shape so the cookie would have a shape without having to be cut out.*

Mirro cookie press. Image from food.com.

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In Kanazawa, the trees covered in yukitsuri (雪つり), ropes that protect the them from snow, and the trees with holiday (LED) lights stand side-by-side near the station. Every year, plenty of news media and bloggers cover Japanese Christmas traditions from KFC and Christmas cake to Christmas Eve as a romantic date night. What does December in Japan for an expat look like on an individual level?

I had so much fun documenting Halloween in Japan that I thought readers might be interested in a more take on the holiday season here in Japan. Since I was raised celebrating Christmas as a mostly secular holiday and have adopted some Japanese new year’s customs since moving here, I’ll be focusing mainly on those two holidays.

Gingerbread cookies, 2010

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