Tokyo went into full, four wheel drive Christmas mode on 1 November, the moment Halloween was done and dusted and the Batman costumes were put away for another year. The decorations went up and the hotels started competing in the "who has the tallest tree in the lobby" competition. Couples began booking their Xmas Eve date (you're no-one in Japan if you don't have a date on Xmas Eve) and Kentucky Fried Chicken have started taking orders for the annual rush for buckets of wings because "Christmas isn't Christmas without Kentucky Fried Chicken".
And the carols and Christmas songs have been playing continuously for over six weeks now. For me though, not being particularly religious (well, actually not at all) Christmas is still the most important celebration in the year. It's the family time; we Skype my parents to open the presents at 6.00 in the morning and then Skype them again so they can join in the turkey dinner later in the day. And for me there is one song that truly captures that feeling of togetherness and the loneliness it can bring with it when you're a Christmas orphan. Half way around the world is a long way but Christmas is the time you remember each other. Even when you can't be there.