Culture, Life/Living

Christmas in July!

It was Christmas Eve! She could see the beautiful Christmas lights that had lit up the city from her window and she smiled. She heard her daughter’s laughter and she smiled. She saw her daughter laughing as her husband lifted her up and she smiled. She imagined her daughter oohing and aahing after she would see the beautifully decorated streets and she smiled. She walked hand in hand with her husband as their daughter happily skipped ahead of them and she smiled. She thought of the wonderful meal they were going to have that night and she smiled. She saw the incredibly long line of people outside KFC and she did not smile. You see, this was her first Christmas out with her daughter and she had forgotten about the lines. She joined the line knowing that it would be a few hours before the three of them would enjoy their Christmas Eve dinner but she smiled a big smile, with all her teeth trying to hide the embarrassingly high rate at which her mouth was watering.

Now that I have your attention, today being the first day of July, I was thinking of a way to mark the end of the first half of 2015 and I thought that there would be no better way to end a year (or half a year) than with Christmas. Christmas in July, great! But then, a question came to mind. How does one celebrate Christmas in July? I couldn’t think of anything but that was before I came across this:

Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan and businesses and schools are actually open on the 25th of December. This is mostly because only about 1% of the Japanese population are Christians so to the remaining 99% they see no point of celebrating Christmas. In fact, they don’t really celebrate Christmas day they usually celebrate Christmas Eve as Valentine’s Day but with a KFC dinner and Christmas decorations all around.

Godzilla-Christmas-Tree

Godzilla Christmas Tree

Christmas is celebrated all over the world in different ways. The Japanese have theirs, which I may find a little strange, but I can still appreciate where their creativity has taken them. What I struggled to understand was the KFC dinners?

Not that I have anything against KFC but of all the restaurants in Japan, why strictly KFC? This is where it gets interesting, in 1974 in Japan, KFC launched an incredibly successful marketing campaign which they dubbed, クリスマスにはケンタッキ or Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii (Kentucky for Christmas!) and they got the idea from a group of foreigners. These foreigners were looking for turkey to eat as they celebrated Christmas day which they couldn’t find. They then got the next best thing, which was fried chicken and the company capitalized on this and launched its first Christmas meal that year and now having a KFC dinner during Christmas has become a tradition. The demand for KFC dinners is so high that one can pre-order their Christmas meal some months in advance and not have to wait on line on the day.

Christmas-in-Japan

From the people who gave you Otakus, The Weird and Wonderful; they now give you:

Christmas

So, celebrate a very Japanese Christmas this July with me with a KFC dinner and a date 🙂

In a perfect world, Gillian would be travelling round the world in her red vintage VW T1 van (Hippie Van) gathering stories of the people she meets and retelling them to those ready to listen. She is in the process of building this world which is now going to have all of you in it.

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