Christmas is for Couples?
Have you ever wondered how the Japanese culture spends their Christmas holiday? Well there is this crazy (to me, at least) culture in Japan were Christmas is a couples holiday.
What? For couples? Well yeah. In Japan Christmas is a couple’s holiday. Christmas in Japan started sometime before 1875. Somewhere between that time and now, Christmas became more for the couples than for the families. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure people do it for their kids too, but from what I’ve learned living with two Japanese students and doing some reading and research, Christmas is something like Valentine’s Day (that’s a post for another day in America).
There is usually a nice dinner. The husband or boyfriend reserves a nice restaurant to eat at. Or (and I’m not sure of this) the couple could make dinner together. I think that this tradition is really cool for couples without children or just budding couples. I mean they may already do this but what do I know? All of the restaurants and hotels ranging from fancy to super fancy were booked to the max during this time of the year. And don’t even THINK about having your honeymoon in Japan during this time unless you have planned at least a year in advanced.
What I think is crazy are the couples who wait in long lines or plan three months in advanced for some chicken. Yes, you read it right. Chicken. THE biggest seller in Japan during Christmas is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). WHAT!!!! Yeah, sometime around the 1970’s to the 1980’s KFC was trying to get more business in Japan so they came up with Christmas chicken. And APPARENTLY it was a HUGE hit.
That to me is superb marketing (what? you have to give them credit where credit is due) and crazy funny. Here in America we cook ham and stuffing and holiday pies and cakes (if you go the traditional route). While in Japan they eat fried chicken and even PLAN for the chicken so far in advanced that it just seems so crazy to me. People will actually go at least three months in advanced to the nearest KFC that sells Christmas chicken and wait in a line for who knows how long for some chicken.
Christmas in Japan, just in case you haven’t already realized is not a religious holiday like it is here in America (not to everyone but, to most). There isn’t much of anything about Santa Claus either (because Santa is generally something for kids to believe in). The only really noticeable difference in Japan around the Christmas holidays is the Christmas music that plays in the shops or just outside where potential customers can hear.
Christmas is more of a day for lovers, in my opinion, than Valentine’s Day. My question is what do mixed couples and families do in Japan? I mean what do half-American (or Canadian, or Indian, or Korean, etc.) and half-Japanese families do for Christmas?
By the way you guys should check out the Tofugu website for another post about Christmas in Japan. Also the pictures in this post are all from what I found in Google. The first picture is linked to its post on Tofugu as well (so click away).