Tuesday, December 6, 2011

He's Coming!

Or maybe he's going. At least that's how it looks on the southbound platform of Japan Railway's Hamamatsucho Station in central Tokyo. Today, just like every Feast of St. Nicholas for as long as I can remember, the station's famed Peeing Boy donned the suit of red he'll wear all Christmas season. Seeing this little guy suited up in his seasonal regalia is always one of the bright spots of the holidays for me whenever I find myself traveling from the capitol city to our little valley beyond.

In recent years brightly lit plastic Santa figurines and other holiday adornments have been popping up like wild flowers among the tangled vines of little lights that grow rampant like ivy over houses and balconies across Temple Valley during the month of December. While the sight of this largely western tradition taking root in this far eastern land may seem odd to some, there was nothing more strange than what I witnessed on my walk home tonight.

There wasn't a light in sight. Perhaps everyone is cutting down on using electricity in the wake of the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima or maybe they are still holding back on the festive displays in sympathy for those who have less to celebrate this year. I'm not sure why people in the valley trimmed down their Christmas lights this year but it sure seemed somber, no it was serene. It was downright peaceful, and peace is the kind of Christmas tradition that would be nice to see take root everywhere this season and always.

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas kids!

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