My “Love-Hate relationship with December” in Japan…
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was celebrating new year and in the blink of an eye, time is lost. Now, it’s less than 20 days to say goodbye to this year and get ready for the next. Ahh, how fast the time moves…
That said,”Why do I love Decembers in Japan?”
Just like in the western countries, December in Japan signifies the holiday season, the weather is nice due to autumn and is transitioning to winter so it’s not too cold or too windy. Even though Japan isn’t a Christian rich country they do celebrate it in their own way and winter break starts from Christmas. Other than restaurants and malls, all the offices are closed for this holiday season. Someone asked me before, when do you think is the best time to visit Japan? And my answer has and always will be late november to early december, not because its cheaper to travel during this time but because of how beautiful the nature is…all the trees are in the midst of transformation, colors of the leaves which is impossible to find during any other time of the year; varying from light yellow to bright red.
Although this is only one aspect of it, the streets of Japan are lit with beautiful decorations as Japan starts their preparation to move into holiday mode. Apart from the decorations; restaurants, shopping malls offer huge discounts during this time and yes it’s the best time to buy things if you want to go on a shopping spree. Also, imagine eating warm soba or ramen during nights outside…when it’s windy but not too windy, ahh so good.
Is that all? NO!…This is usually the best time to visit hot springs, removing the accumulated stress.
Now, why do I hate Japan in December?
I come from one of the hottest places in the world, South India. So, anything below 20℃ we start wearing sweaters. Not being used to the climatic conditions, where Autumn is usually around 5-15℃ and getting worse day by day until by the end of December when a full-fledged winter season starts.
Winters are something which Europeans and Westerners are used to living with and may like. But, even my friends from Norway hated winters in Japan because of the wind. It’s like small shrapnels piercing your body all the time unless you have at least 4 layers on. Except for the climatic conditions, my friends and I don’t have any bad experiences for December.
That being said, visiting Japan in December is worth it. Although people like me may hate the weather, the upside is it’s not too cold and is the perfect time to travel, taste their cuisines, meet all kinds of people and make new memories…that will last a lifetime.