Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Holly Jolly X'masu

Blog Post – Why “X’masu”?

Jul 10, 2020

A friend sent me an email and said, “You realize nobody actually says that, right?” I was shocked! Okay, not really. Right off the bat, I’ll admit that, when I named the podcast, I was fully aware of the fact that “X’masu” is not a common pronunciation in Japan. You’ll hear Kurisumasu and Christmas, but almost everyone just says X’mas (and, yes, writing it with the apostrophe is the most-accepted form). However, X’masu isn’t technically wrong. It is used by some. Rarely, or even very rarely, but it’s still a valid form of “Christmas.”

But, I wasn’t looking for a technicality when I was coming up with a podcast name. I spent hours trying to come up with something. I needed a title that would incorporate Christmas and Japan. I also needed something that would turn up in search results.

I considered using the Japanese title of some Christmas song or another, but remembering how to spell “Akahananotonakai,” let alone pronounce it was a little daunting. I also took into consideration the fact that very few English-speaking listeners were going to randomly google Akahananotonakai (or something along those lines) and stumble across my podcast. I tried coming up with something the played off a famous line from a Christmas movie, but the handful of things I came up with were so embarrassingly bad, I’m not going to repeat them here.

I finally looked at the top ten or so most-played Christmas songs on the big, nationwide media conglomerate’s website (or at least the website of one of the local affiliates) and started playing around with those. I basically just put Kurisumasu, X’mas, or some reference to Japan into each of them. The only one I really liked was “Holly Jolly X’mas.” However, if you’ve ever done a search on “Holly Jolly X’mas,” you’ll understand why I didn’t want to go with that. Just like when I was trying to find Christmas songs by the Japanese singing duo The Peanuts, and was doing searches on “Peanuts Christmas songs,” the number of results I got were huge, but none of them were what I was actually looking for. I quickly realized that, not only would “Holly Jolly X’mas” not stand out, it would be utterly lost in a massive ocean of results.

I dug a little deeper and found a blog that talked about Japanese Christmas customs. It said that Christmas was also known as Kurisumasu, X’mas and X’masu, but parenthetically mentioned that X’masu was very rarely used. However, a parenthetical “very rarely” was good enough for me. Well, almost. I searched a little more and found an actual Japanese site that stated essentially the same thing. Still not common, but at least it was validation from an actual Japanese site that X’masu was an accepted synonym for Christmas.

I decided to go with it. It tied into one of my favorite Christmas songs, and wasn’t something that would be lost among other search results. At least on sites that didn’t substitute “X’mas” for “X’masu.” Plus, since the main goal of my podcast is to introduce Japanese Christmas music to a non-Japanese audience, it helps it stand out from other similarly-named podcasts.