Japan. The land of the rising sun. Where East meets West. Where technology and tradition collide in a kaleidoscope of brilliant neon lights and muted minimalist landscaping.
Where KFC reigns during the holidays.
That’s right, for Christmas the Japanese eat fried chicken, and not just any fried chicken--Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I was in Japan last December, and the people hosting me could barely contain their excitement over having a “real American” in their house, especially over Christmas. They assured me that they had a “real American Christmas” planned for me as they led me to the dining area, where I found a bucketful of chicken and a beautiful white cake, pristinely lined with strawberries.
“I made Christmas cake,” the hostess told me proudly, “so you could feel at home.” A Christmas cake, I soon learned, is a white sponge cake with strawberries inside and frosted with whipped cream. Apparently, people eat Christmas cake after they eat KFC. This has become so popular that KFC in Japan offers a complete Christmas family meal, including the Christmas cake.
Imagine their shock when I told them that it wasn’t a tradition for Americans to eat KFC for Christmas nor was there such a thing as “Christmas cake” in America.
Nevertheless, the chicken and cake were delicious and while I may have missed out on a “traditional Christmas dinner,” I didn’t miss out on the spirit of the holidays. I thanked the hostess for her kindness and asked for her Christmas cake recipe. I think you know what I’m bringing to Christmas dinner this year.
What are your holiday traditions?
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