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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Japanese Christmas food

This month our university coop run cafeteria has a Christmas fair. This means food they believe is Christmasy. Which means it contains the colors green and red, and preferable also yellow. So we have such Christmas like things as "hashed beef in curry sauce with omelet (yellow), broccoli (green), and ketchup (red), on rice"; Christmas chicken: chicken, potatoes (yellow), broccoli (green), and tomato sauce (red); fish egg salad (reddish fish eggs), corn (yellow) and broccoli (green)...

Speaking of Japanese Christmas food, the whole concept is a bit weird. In Japan, traditionally people do not celebrate Christmas (with no one being Christian, this is not surprising). The American influence is strong in Japan, and now there are slightly strange Japanese versions of Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine's Day.

Christmas is celebrated in two ways. If you have a girlfriend, you celebrate by going to an expensive restaurant serving European style food (like pasta) and have a romantic dinner. Christmas is the night for dating couples.

Christmas is also celebrated by standing in line in front of Kentucky fried chicken. This sounds like a joke, but people actually form lines of several hundred meters just to get into KFC on Christmas. For real. People also book fried chicken in advance from KFC to take home and eat as a Christmas dinner with the whole family. Booking well in advance is your only reasonable chance of getting KFC on Christmas.

Not only do they do weird things like stand in line for KFC for hours, they also think that "this is what you do in the West, right?" Um, no? We do not even have KFC in Sweden. Apparently, the thinking is something like "Americans eat turkey at Christmas" -> "turkey is a bird" -> "KFC serves chicken, which is also a bird" -> "KFC serves traditional Christmas food" -> "everyone in Europe and America eats at KFC during Christmas" -> "we should do that too".

Valentine's Day is also weird here, but that is a story for another day.

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