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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.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Japanese Christmas food

Top selling Christmas dish at our school cafeteria (beef curry, omelette, rice, ketchup, broccoli). It is Christmas food because it has green and red colors, and is a "Western dish" (the omelette makes it "Western" by Japanese standards).
In Japan, almost no one is Christian (something like 0.5% I think) and Christian holidays are not generally known or celebrated. People do know about Christmas, though, from American movies and TV shows. So some people have Western style Christmas parties and things like that.

Traditional (though it is a fairly young tradition) Japanese Christmas celebration is to go on a date with your girlfriend/boyfriend at a restaurant serving Western food. Like pasta.

What Japanese people consider to be Christmas food is also interesting. The number on food that springs to mind when you say Christmas is apparently Kentucky Fried Chicken. My guess is the reasoning is something like "Americans eat turkey. Turkey is a bird. Kentucky Fried Chicken serves birds. And it is American. This must be the food most similar to Western world Christmas food", but I could be wrong.

There are thus huge lines outside KFC on Christmas. At some KFC places you have to stand in line for hours. At some places they only serve you if you booked in advance. Bizarre.

At our university cafeteria they also serve Christmas dishes now. These include "grilled chicken leg" (though not from KFC). They also include things like "beef curry with omelette and ketchup, and a small piece of broccoli". This is Christmas food because it has green (broccoli) and red (ketchup) on it (yellow is also common in Christmas food). Anything that is green and red, and not Japanese food, is considered Christmas food. That is not exactly how we divide food into "Christmas food" and "not Christmas food" in Sweden, but still...

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