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Night Before Christmas in Japan - Poem

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Here's a poem I wrote several years ago that was published in an English language magazine here in Tokyo.

It was written from my years of spending Christmas in Japan. I hope you enjoy it. I've included a glossary of some of the Japanese references used at the end of the poem.


’Twas the Night Before Christmas in Japan

By Steve Marshall

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through Japan

Not a creature was stirring, ’cept some drunk businessman.

The stockings were hung by the kotatsu with care

In hopes that Sainto Nichorasu soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug on the floor

With all of their shoes lined up by the door.

And mama and I, when our door had been latched

Had just gone to bed in yukata that matched.

When out in the street there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my futon to see what was the matter.

Away to the glass doors I started to go

Hit my head on the doorframe, it’s so low you know.

Something had fell on the streets down below

And through all of the smog, it looked something like snow.

When what to my sleepy filled eyes should appear

But a shiny red Nissan being pulled by some deer.

But the driver was HUGE and half naked, that’s weird

It’s not Santa at all it’s a sumo with a beard.

With the ease that he pushes his opponents out of the ring

All the names of his reindeer he started to sing.

On Michi, on Kenji, on Matsu and Ishi,

On Sato, on Tetsu and, of course, ol’ Konishiki.

They flew through the air with the speed of a cheetah

But I heard that they won’t let them land at Narita.

The next thing I heard was my door go KA-BOOM!

And the guy standing there took up half of the room.

Oh my gosh he was HUGE, I’ve never seen so much mass

And that thing that he wore barely covered his BUTT.

He spoke not a word but went straight to our sockies

And filled them all up with some sushi and Pockies.

I gave him some anpan but he ate a lot more

Then he yelled a loud “HAI” as he pushed through the door.

He called to his team in a way quite possessive

And then they took off, now THAT was impressive.

But I heard him exclaim as he flew through the sky

“Merry Ku-ri-su-masu minasan, Oyasumi-nasai!”


Kotatsu A low table with a heater built into it that is used in the winter months

Yukata A light cotton kimono

Konishiki A famous Sumo wrestler

Narita Tokyo's international airport

Pockies Chocolate covered pretzel sticks that are a popular snack food in Japan

Anpan A bun filled with sweet bean paste

Oyasumi-nasai Japanese for "Good night"

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Michael Rielly

Really nice! Thanks for sharing! :D

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I have seen many versions (Cajun, Redneck, Politically Correct) before, but not one from Japan. Good Job! And Thanks for the Glossary...It made it more enjoyable to know what some of the words meant.

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Felix Estridge

Good one!

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Santa Johnny Boy

Love it!

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Eileen Strom

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Really like this, thanks for sharing!

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