Commentary by Hank Miller Jr.
Hank was born and raised in Gloucester City, NJ. He now lives with his family in Japan
Merii Kurisumas ando guddo naito!
Dear Santa, when you visit this country of Japan this year, please do be careful not
to make any faux pas.
Remember, that your "gaijin"
A foreigner here too.
Therefore, although you are allowed to break many of the rules of Japan, there
are still some customs you should follow.
First of all, no kissing mommy. A polite bow will do.
Moreover, keep your voice down--a loud "Ho ho ho" would be very impolite and
Keep gestures to a minimum please.
When you come inside the house--through the window, Please--take off
your boots and use the XXL slippers we have put out especially for your
big gaijin feet.
Watch your head as you make your way through our small house.
Give gifts in odd numbers: either one or three. Three is best, because
the word "four" in Japanese,"shi”, has the same pronunciation as the
word death, so it should not be used it could be bad luck to give
someone four gifts.
Of course, this is just a superstition.
We don't really believe it, but then again, we do.
If possible, do your shopping in Japan to help revive the economy.
Besides your Elfen, brand electronics aren't very good. Do your Elves
even know what an MD is? I don’t think so, Santa.
And your video games are too nonviolent.
Leave the tech technology to us.
Take back all the Elfen gifts and rewrap them!
I was astounded at your gift-wrapping last year.
I recommend sending one of your elves here for training in working with
The wrapping should be more beautiful than the gift.
By the way, we don't do facial hair in Japan.
Do you really need so much facial hair Santa?
If you could just trim that long beard a little, we would feel a little
more comfortable having you sneaking around our house.
I'll leave snacks out for you, but it won't be cookies and milk, like
they do in America.
We'll leave a Japanese sweet and green tea. Eat the sweet with the
little whittled stick with the bark still on it.
Since you bring us a gift, we’ll have to give you one in return too.
You'll need an extra sack and maybe an extra sled to carry all the
Sorry, giving gifts back is a Japanese custom.
Please resist the temptation to redistribute the gifts we give you.
Don't bring us any food from the North Pole, as it is against the law
to bring food into the country.
Besides, we have heard the people from the North Pole eat all kinds of
strange food such a yeti and abominable snowmen.
We don't want to get fat.
Put a little commercial advertising on that sleigh of yours.
Universal Studios Japan would be nice.
Please clean up after your reindeer.
There will be plastic bags and gloves outside for this purpose.
You'll need some Japanese skills in case you run into authorities that
stop you for trespassing.
I suggest the extremely polite phrase:
"Moshiwake arimasen. Watashi wa, Santa desu kedo"("There is no excuse, I
am Santa Claus").
Or, if you should choose to appease them by giving a gift, you should
say”, Tsumaranai mono desu (ga" "This is a Terrible gift.")
If you find yourself being photographed, be sure to smile and give the
Don't ask me why, but everyone here does it.
Take a few moments to stop in a "snack” bar to drink some warm sake and
sing karaoke Christmas carols with the hostesses before moving on to
and North America.
Finally, every experience should end with a moral.
Please leave your opinion about your experience and your impressions of
Japan in a letter addressed to us.
You must be very tired, Santa, but please do your best.
Instead of saying " Merry Christmas to all a good night”, say it in
"Merii Kurisumasu ando guddo naito”.
Warm Regards From Kitakyushu City Japan!
“ Merii Kurisumasu ando guddo naito!"
Hank F Miller Jr.