Having a Japanese daughter-in-law has given us the wonderful privilege of glimpsing another culture. It has been fascinating. This year we will get to travel to Japan to spend some time with our son and his family who are living there for a few years. I've learned that you cannot generalize about the traditions of the Japanese culture. What may happen in one corner of the country does not necessarily happen all over the country. With that in mind, it will be an interesting trip seeing what Tokyo is like at Christmas time.
One of the things that we are told to expect is the traditional KFC chicken dinner. It seems that KFC has really taken off as the go-to for Christmas dinner. So much so that KFC even has special packaging and advertising with the advice to order early. Our son's wife tells us that the lines for deep fried chicken extend around the block a lot like our Honey Baked Ham lines in the States at the holidays.
While only one percent of the population of Japan is said to be Christian, the holiday has still become a fun time as Western ways have influenced Japanese culture. According to one article I read, Christmas is mostly a commercial event. It is not recognized as a national holiday and schools and businesses will still be open. Our grandkids will be on a break from school however, because they go to an international school that follows the school calendar as we do in the States.
Another article writes that Christmas cake is traditional. It is sponge cake, strawberries, and whipped cream. There are trees, Santas (Colonel Sanders statures will be sporting Santa suits I read) and seasonal illuminations. My son said to be prepared for a lot of Merry Xmas signs.
Our Christmas stopped being truly traditional many years ago as the kids grew and left home to establish their own traditions. I won't miss a white Christmas although if it gets cold enough it could snow in Tokyo. And I think KFC chicken will be a unique alternative to the pork roast we used to have. Sharing Christmas with family is the only tradition I still love to keep and that will happen albeit spread out between now and the middle of January in order to see all of them.
So lookout Tokyo! I'm ready for a new Christmas adventure.