Saturday, December 24, 2005

Why Christmas In Japan Annoys Me

I like Christmas.

It's a nice holiday, when you get down to the basics of it.

Past the commercialism and the glitter.

Past the crowds at malls and post-Christmas sales.

Down to the spirit of Christmas, which is basically "being good to each other".

The concept of Christmas made it over to Japan, but the spirit did not.

There are a lot of things that have resulted from this gap that annoy me.

One: The idea that chicken is to be eaten on Christmas Eve.

Where did that come from? My theory is that there are no ovens in Japanese households big enough to cook a turkey, so they went with a smaller bird.

That, or somebody in marketing at KFC was one smart dude.

They actually sell out of chicken at KFCs across the country. No lie. One year, I tried to go and buy some chicken, just to see what the fuss was all about. The parking lot was so packed that a staff member was directing traffic. I tried to go inside and another staffer stopped me at the door and said, "Excuse me, sir, but do you have a reservation?"

Huh? Who knew KFC was such a classy place?

"Ummm, no. Is a reservation necessary?"

"Yes sir. If you don't have a reservation, then we are all sold out of chicken."

Sold out. Of chicken. At Kentucky Fried Chicken. A fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken.

I laughed all the way home. But I couldn't leave without getting a picture of Santa Sanders.

Two: The idea that cake is to be eaten on Christmas Eve.

Yep. Christmas Cake. I have no theories for this one. We always had pie at the Kidd Family household. The closest thing I can think of is fruitcake, and you don't see people running out and reserving those for Christmas Eve. I've asked friends from other countries about Christmas where they're from, and nobody has a clue.

Three: Being away from my family on Christmas.

Then, Dustin, why don't you go home for Christmas?

Moving on...

Four: Young people celebrating the conception of Christ, not the birth.

Ohhhh, yeah. I wouldn't even dream of making something like this up.

Christmas Eve is a night...for lovers (read that line with an Antonio Banderas-style accent). Forget about spending time with your family! Take your significant other out on a date, eat a nice dinner, check into a nice hotel, or a "love hotel", and..."twist the night away". [I would use much cruder terminology (mostly because in this case, it's almost appropriate), but it IS Christmas Eve.]

And if you don't have a significant other, just hook up with someone before Christmas Eve! You can always dump them after Christmas Eve has passed. (Some people do this.)

It's just a twisted, depressing, messed-up take on Christmas. And DO THEY EVER play it up on late-night TV shows and in magazines. Yeesh.

So around this time of year, if I'm here, I always get a bit grumpy. Christmas over here annoys me.

Although playing Santa for little kids rocks.


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