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Can Santa Claus read Japanese?

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Christmas in Japan

Japan has only really started celebrating Christmas on a wide scale during the last few decades. Being a largely Buddhist country, it is not celebrated as a religious holiday.

But as with most nations and cultures in the world, the Japanese also have their own unique take on the holiday with something borrowed and something new.

In this language learning blog from Japanese teacher Akari Ueno, you can read about one Japanese view of this widely celebrated seasonal festival. Read the Japanese vocabulary list and learn more Japanese words, and also listen to the video to hear Ueno sensei read the blog herself.

Can Santa Claus read Japanese?


By UENO Akari


もうすぐ今年も終わりますね。 その前に、クリスマスという大きな行事が控えている方も多いのではないでしょうか。 日本では、クリスマスにフライドチキンやデコレーションケーキを食べたり、恋人同士でレストランでの食事を楽しんだりする人もいます。みなさんの国のクリスマスの過ごし方と違う点も多いかもしれません。








To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.


もうすぐ今年(ことし)も終(お)わりますね。 その前(まえ)に、クリスマスという大(おお)きな行事(ぎょうじ)が控(ひか)えている方(かた)も多(おお)いのではないでしょうか。 日本(にほん)では、クリスマスにフライドチキンやデコレーションケーキを食(た)べたり、恋人同士(こいびとどうし)でレストランでの食事(しょくじ)を楽(たの)しんだりする人もいます。みなさんの国(くに)のクリスマスの過(す)ごし方(かた)と違(ちがう)う点(てん)も多いかもしれません。




Kくんは「果(は)たして、サンタさんは日本語(にほんご)が読(よ)めるのだろうか という疑問(ぎもん)を抱(いだ)いているそうです。もしかしたら、サンタさんは日本語(にほんご)が読(よ)めないから違(ちが)うプレゼントを持(も)ってきてしまうのではないだろうか。



Can Santa Claus read Japanese?

This year is almost over. There are probably a lot of people who have the big the event that is Christmas ahead of them now. In Japan, during Christmas, we eat fried chicken and decorated cakes and there are many people who enjoy eating at restaurants with as couples. In your countries, there are probably many points in which you celebrate Christmas differently.

But the point that Santa Claus brings presents is the same in Japan as well, and children from long before the date think seriously about “What should I ask Santa for this year?” and while racking their brains, they write letters to Santa Claus.

One little girl thought about writing a letter saying “This year I would like a puppy”, but decided against it. This was because she thought, “It is a long way for Santa to come to our house, and wouldn't it be painful for the puppy inside the sack?”

There 's the story of one little boy, who we will call K-kun, who made out a 'What I want list' every year and listed them from his first choice down to his fifth preference. (They were all game software.) And it is really unfortunate but, he never once got what he asked for, and he always got presents that his parents would be pleased with, like English books and a globe.

So now K-kun is apparently holding on to a doubt in that, “I wonder whether Santa can read Japanese?” Perhaps Santa couldn't read the Japanese which is why he ended up bringing the wrong gifts before.

Actually, when I was a child I was really mystified by how blue-eyed Santa, who lives so far away could read the Japanese in my letters and bring the right presents.

I haven't heard whether K-kun wrote a letter to Santa this year yet and if he did write one, what he wrote in it, but I am secretly hoping that K-kun gets the presents he wants.

◆~が控(ひか)えている: have~ ahead of

◆真剣(しんけん)に: seriously; earnestly

◆頭(あたま)を悩(なや)ませる: rack one’s brain

◆第1希望(だいいちきぼう): first choice

◆~ことに: very~; terribly~; extremely

◆1助数詞(じょすうし:counter suffix)として…ない: not even (one); まったく…ない

◆果(は)たして…だろうか: I wonder if…

◆~てしかたがない: extremely~, very~

◆ひそかに(密かに): secretly


Hajimemashite everyone ! My name is Akari Ueno.
I live in Tokyo with my husband and daughter. I have had the experience of living in Hokkaido, Yokohama and Singapore.
I studied History in university, so I love touring around historical ruins. When I was younger, I went to see the Great Pyramids and Borobudur in Indonesia, but now I merely tour around the neighborhood parks with my daughter. I dream of touring around the world's famous ruins with my daughter one day.

When I study languages, one English phrase always comes to mind, "Use it, or lose it". I used to be scared of making mistakes, so even when I learned new vocabulary, I didn't use it. But after learning this English phrase from a friend, I started to use the vocabulary and terms I'd learned without fear of making mistakes.

Try to use your newly learned vocabulary and phrases all the time in the lessons. Looking forward to meeting you all in class !

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Guest Saturday, 25 September 2021