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Is celebrating 26th Birthday bad? 2009/9/22 14:59
If I'm not married yet?

I'll be in Japan on my 26th birthday which is on New Years Day 2010. In the past, I have always celebrated my birthday. Do most women in Japan celebrate their 26th birthday if not married yet?
by Lydia (guest)  

. 2009/9/22 16:49
Yes, it's no problem, why shouldn't they?

My friend actually just turned 26, she's single and we all had a nice party.
by ExpressMail (guest) rate this post as useful

Plenty of time yet 2009/9/22 20:37
Traditionally, I think spinster at 62 years old is the time to start worrying. Relax...
by Mary (guest) rate this post as useful

Lucky girl you! 2009/9/22 21:25
What being single have to do with celebrating your birthday LOL. I have 2 daughters, 34 and 31 that are single, and I enjoy celebrating their birthdays.

New Year is the most important date in Japan. You may have to celebrate your birthday alone since Japanese singles will return home to celebrate the New Year with family and relatives. Married couple will also return home.

I hope you have a friend in Japan that have invited you to visit their family during the New Year. If not, reschedule your departure date.
by EichoKago rate this post as useful

???? 2009/9/22 22:48
Did you actually read/hear somewhere that unmarried 26 year old women shouldn't have a birthday party? If so, your source is very wrong. Many Japanese women are still unmarried at 26 (forget anything you have heard about "Christmas cake"- very outdated), and marital status has nothing to do with whether you celebrate your birthday or not- that's entirely up to you.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/9/22 22:53
The question is as odd as asking "Is it bad to celebrate my 18th birthday if I don't have a boyfriend?". You get the picture. Have a best birthday ever!
by Ikuyo Kuruyo (guest) rate this post as useful

Christmas cake 2009/9/23 09:38
Lydia's question comes from a Japanese saying, which I heard several times in Japan: "An unmarried woman is like Christmas cake... by the 26th, no one wants them anymore." We don't have Christmas cakes in the west, but you can think about the market for buying pumpkins after Halloween, or Christmas trees after Christmas.

That said, more and more Japanese women are marrying later. While she may still be feeling the pressure to get married soon by family and society, I think most would still celebrate their birthday.
by Samurai007 rate this post as useful

Happy Birthday 2009/9/23 11:02
After WW2, Japanese women of all ages have always been celebrating birthdays even in the pre-Christmas-cake-myth days. Since, in Japan, New Years is a lot bigger than Christmas, your birthday will be filled with fun anyway. The only issue is preparation, as a lot of restaurants and stores will be closed on your birthday. Be sure you have everything arranged by birthday-eve.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

A Japanese friend told me 2009/9/23 11:19
It was a Japanese friend who didn't want to celebrate her 26th Birthday last month. Her reason: It's better for an unmarried woman's age (above 25) to be a mystery because "Christmas cakes can still be good as long as only people who matter knows. There is no need to remind everyone that I am past 25"

After second thought, I think I agree with her. Maybe I should celebrate without sticking the right candles? If a person's birthday falls on New Years day, is her birthday typically celebrated on 31 Dec or 2 Jan?

Eichokago, Rescheduling my flight isn't an option. I will be on a long-term job assignment in Japan.
by Lydia (guest) rate this post as useful

that's just her 2009/9/23 11:33
Lydia, that is just your friend's personal opinion, not that of wider Japanese society. 26 is still very young, and most women these days are not yet married by 26. Why be coy about your age anyway? It's just another hang-up, I don't know why people worry about things like that. Just be yourself.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/9/23 11:38
Lydia wrote;
Maybe I should celebrate without sticking the right candles?

I think that's the point. By 26, women start avoiding the question "How old are you?" and I think this is quite universal. Your friend was probably half joking or a bit exaggerating about being unmarried, but at 26, what should count is the celebration for your being born to this wonderful world and not your age or what status you are currently in.

If a person's birthday falls on New Years day, is her birthday typically celebrated on 31 Dec or 2 Jan?

I have a couple of Japanese friends living in Japan who were born on Jan 1st, and they don't particulary avoid that day just because it's New Years Day.

But I have to say that as you get older you get busier and it often gets difficult to arrange something on a fixed date. Depending on your situation, I don't think you have to stick to Jan 1st as long as it's alright with you.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

P.S. 2009/9/23 11:43
Come to think of it, New Year's Eve is the busiest day of the year for Japanese people in general, as they need to prepare for New Year's Day. So you don't really have to avoid Jan 1st, but it might be better to avoid Dec 31st if you want to have friends over. Also keep in mind that the Year End/New Years period is the home-coming season. Good luck on your new job, btw!
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Celebrate on 2009/9/23 14:02
12:01:01 a.m. as Japanese people welcome the New Year you can welcome yours and blown out the candles. Only you can celebrate twice - that's wonderful.
by EichoKago rate this post as useful

. 2009/9/23 14:10
If thats your friend personal choice, some people never celebrate birthdates either (of all cultures).

My Japanese friend celebrated her 26th birthday, we all had a ball, drinking, celebrating, singing, the whole works.

I wouldn't let some old myth tale dictate how you live YOUR life.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

No Christmas cake? 2009/9/23 14:27
"We don't have Christmas cakes in the west"

This just jumped out at me. Samurai007, are you kidding? You are actually saying we literally don't have Christmas cakes in western countries? I don't know which country you are from, but where I am from there is a very old tradition of a heavy fruit cake at Christmas- not the sponge cake with strawberries that they have in Japan, but very much a Christmas cake. Our version of it lasts well past the 25th as well. They don't have Christmas cake in your country? How odd.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Lydia, "fruitcake" 2009/9/23 14:48
Christmas cake is a type of fruitcake served at Christmas time in the UK, Ireland, Japan, Philippines and many Commonwealth countries.

A Christmas cake may be light or dark, crumbly-moist to sticky-wet, spongy to heavy, leavened or unleavened, shaped round, square or oblong as whole cakes, fairy cakes, or petit fours, with marzipan, icing, glazing, dusting with icing sugar, or plain, etc.

A particular favourite of many is the traditional Scottish Christmas cake, the Whisky Dundee. As the name implies, the cake originated in Dundee and is made with Scotch whisky. It is a light and crumbly cake, and light on fruit and candied peelonly currants, raisins, sultanas and cherries. This Christmas cake is particularly good for people who don't like very rich and moist cakes. As with all fruitcakes, the almonds (or other nuts) can be omitted by people who don't like them or those with severe nut allergies.

At the other end of the Christmas cake continuum, the apple creme Christmas cake is a rich mix of finely sliced apples, raisins and other fruit, with eggs, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream.

In the middle of the spectrum is the mincemeat Christmas cake, which is simply any traditional or vegetarian mincemeat mixed with flour, eggs, etc., to transform it into a cake batter; or it can also be steamed as a Christmas pudding.

Coins were also occasionally added to Christmas Cakes as well as Christmas Puddings as good luck Touch Pieces. The usual choices were silver 3d piece, or sixpences, sometimes wrapped in grease proof paper packages.

In Northern England, Christmas cake, as with other types of fruit cake, is often eaten with cheese, such as Wensleydale.

In Japan, Christmas cake, traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve, is simply a sponge cake, frosted with whipped cream, often decorated with strawberries, and usually topped with Christmas chocolates or other seasonal fruit. In the Philippines, Christmas cakes are bright rich yellow pound cakes with macerated nuts or fruitcakes of the British fashion. Both are soaked in copious amounts of brandy or rum mixed with a simple syrup of palm sugar and water. Traditionally, civet musk or ambergris flavoring is added, but rosewater or orange flower water is more common now, as civet musk and ambergris have become very expensive. These liquor-laden cakes can usually stay fresh for many months provided they are handled properly.
by EichoKago rate this post as useful

Sorry 2009/9/23 14:52
Sira, I apologize for mistaking you for Lydia.

My excuse, must be my age LOL.
by EichoKago rate this post as useful

Delicious Christmas cakes! 2009/9/23 18:43
You make me drool EichoKago! BTW: Do christmas cakes go on sale after christmas in Japan? Are there ice-cream christmas cakes? I was thinking of maybe buying an ice-cream christmas cake on sale, re-decorate it and serve it on my birthday!

26 is still very young, and most women these days are not yet married by 26. Why be coy about your age anyway? It's just another hang-up, I don't know why people worry about things like that. Just be yourself.

Really? I have always thought the average is around 25. Both my younger brother (24) and younger sister (23) are already married, so my parents are starting to push me to get married. It's really hard to be myself with a lot of pressure.
by Lydia (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/9/23 22:40
I assumed when Samurai007 said "We don't have Christmas cakes in the west", he meant "kurisumasu keeki", not the door stopper.

Lydia, your friend might be being too much self-conscions and feels she is too old to even celebrate her birthday. But it doesn't mean you should do the same. Enjoy your birthday! You have your 26th birthday only once in a life time.
by Ikuyo Kuruyo (guest) rate this post as useful

.... 2009/9/24 08:34
EichoKago, I'm not sure why you directed that post at me- I'm a New Zealander who has lived in Japan most of my adult life, so I know most of what you posted. My mother makes a traditional Christmas cake and posts it to me almost every year, and my grandmother used to add small silver coins to her cake.

I was questioning Samurai007's assertion that we don't have Christmas cakes in the west, which I thought was very odd- I wondered which western country, if any, had no Christmas cake tradition. I thought there was Christmas cake wherever Christmas is traditionally celebrated, and after reading your post, I'm afraid I'm none the wiser.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

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