Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Johnny Mathis Lives On

Yesterday as I stood outside a small department store in Matsubara while waiting for my bus, I heard a Johnny Mathis Christmas song piped over loudspeakers. At first I was stunned. To begin with, he was singing one of the religious Christmas carols, I already forget which one it was, but honestly hearing any religious Christmas music strikes me as funny here in Japan where Christians appear to be easily outnumbered by those practicing Buddhism or Shintoism. Then I became almost hysterical as I heard Rosemary Clooney singing another Christmas tune. It was as though someone had unearthed an album of "classic American Christmas melodies" and started playing it because, "Hey, it's Christmas!" Now I'm no expert but I suspect that the appropriation of other cultures and especially the "fun" aspects of other cultures is fairly widespread. Take for example all the folks in the U.S. who think it's "cool" to get a Japanese or Chinese symbol tattooed on their body with little idea of what it might really mean or how to read it or pronounce it. Still, these instances make me shake my head and wonder just how it all came to be.

And personally, hearing that classic American stand-by took me back to my childhood days, made me smile and had me humming all the way home.


  1. I know! It really stikes me off gaurd sometimes as I'll be sitting in a restaraunt or something and a very religious themed song will come on the air waves. But its one of the nice things about Christmas here - being surprised!

    By the way, speaking of Christmas will we be seeing you and peanut on Sunday? :) I hope so!

  2. This year I got my husband to make me a bunch of CDs of Christmas music so when we have Christmas in Sweden I'll be able to hear it.

  3. Hey J! How are you? I should have e-mailed you when I was near you last week.. DEER!

    Will you be joining AFWJ? I sure hope so!!!! How is the coffee hunt coming along?

    Have a fabulous Holiday!!!!! I am going to try and attempt to bake up some goodies before heading out again.. are you fond of Macha?

    On the Christmas Music... It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, but one day I was shopping at Jusco (Diamond Mall) and Mr. Roboto began to play.. "giggles"

  4. I bet that was quite a Christmas moment for you. I love some of the old crooners.

  5. Eva - Sounds like a great idea! Being in an unfamiliar place for the holidays, I find comfort in the familiar (in this case the music).

    Girl Japan - I did join AFWJ and am very happy to have done so! Also, I like macha in cakes and cookies although I think I'm even more fond of sesame!

    Yogurtry - I love the old classics!