Near Yellow Mountain

Monday, December 27, 2010

First American Christmas since 1999.......

Dec 26th  - Charlotte, NC

Christmas 2010 is behind us. As a family this was our first Christmas in the US since 1999. It was also our first white Christmas since we were in my upstate NY hometown in 1990.

Although much of the Christmas tradition in the US seems the same, many things are different. America's pursuit of political correctness seems an inexorable tide gradually washing away any Christmas or Christ reference in favor of the generic "happy holidays". Company Christmas parties seem no more replaced by "holiday" gatherings. I found it ironic that my Japanese and Chinese friends now seem to be the only group that without exception wishes our family a "Merry Christmas".

Merry Christmas from North Carolina
We were in China the last five Christmas seasons and each year were struck by all the references to Christmas on the streets of Shanghai and traditional religious Christmas songs emanating from stores. In 2004, I was running on Christmas morning in an almost exclusively Muslim Island in Malaysia. My run was stopped several times as locals recognized my western face and wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas with more gusto than I was used to hearing. Our five years in Japan amazed us - although Christmas is almost universally a secular rather than a religious event in Japan (colonel Sanders is dressed as Santa in front of KFCs), we still found the impact Christmas has on non "Christian" countries interesting. By the way if you want KFC in Japan on Christmas - order in advance. Some clever marketing wonk turned "Yuletide with the Colonel" in a "thing".

In Japan, KFC actually tastes good
I would never suggest that America should force Christian customs on those who are not interested but it seems we have lost much of our tradition over the years as we allow political correctness to weaken the traditions that have made America what it is and what people overseas see as truly American. Note to reader: I wrote this post in 2010 before "MAGA" was out there.

It was great to be in the US for Christmas but it seems sad that having been gone over a decade it was clear that there are so many forces in the country trying to weaken a great tradition.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Trip Back to Japan

December 12, 2010

The last few few weeks have been very busy - work, closing on the house, dealing with the small and large details of moving back - address changes, thinking about what cars and TVs to buy, etc.

Connie continues to have to work around a cast over her elbow which exacerbates her frustrations with living in a hotel with a dog, trying to arrange painters for the some of the rooms in the house before our things come, etc.

I have been away from Charlotte for a week.

A few days in San Francisco at a company meeting which included my team from Asia - they enjoyed the greasy American breakfast I took them to at a typical city diner (more "American culture" I told them),  wondered why there are so many homeless people in San Francisco but left California with IPads that are cheaper to buy here than in the Apple Store Shanghai. It was great to see them. I spent a day in Honolulu seeing a cousin since I didn't need to arrive in Tokyo until Sunday. I arrived in Tokyo today. Coming to Japan always feels "normal".

Bottom line - because I continue to travel and see familiar people and have only spent two days in my new office - I have not really started my adjustment to the US yet but I have accepted the fact I am not living in China anymore. I can't even visit China on this trip because I don't have a visa yet.......

Time to focus on Christmas and then the move into the house.