Hello dear readers! How are you? I hope you have been enjoying the holiday period.
Today I’m going to write about my first time experiencing Christmas in Japan.
I wanted to celebrate Christmas Day as I do in England- opening presents and eating a roast dinner! Friends and relatives from Japan and abroad sent gifts and cards. I was so touched. I got a lot of tea- English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and even tea that tastes like a cookie!
I challenged myself to make a roast dinner in my tiny oven! The oven I have here is the same size as a microwave, and actually it can be used as a mirowave as well. It has various problems apart from it’s size- it frequently turns itself off, apparently for no reason, and if you turn all the kettle while it is on all the electrics short circuit! Anyway, the chicken and roast potatoes were cooked in the end, and there were also boiled carrots and brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts are very traditional so I’m glad I could find some! They are not usual here.
I made the table decorations by myself, it was fun! It’s only bits and pieces from the 100yen shop, like the tree, but it looked quite festive in the end. I had to serve the gravy in a teapot because I forgot to buy a gravy boat…. maybe I should have used a sake pouring thing instead though!
Here is my pretty Christmas cake (shop bought!). It’s quite different from what I’m used to. We have Christmas cake in England too, a heavy fruitcake with think icing and a winter scene depicted on the top. In my house we favour Christmas pudding rather than cake though, similarly stodgy and alcoholic and with the added excitement of being on fire when it arrives at the table! In the old days, there would be a silver sixpence inside for a lucky person to find. These days people tend to buy the pudding rather than make it (you make it the year before and keep it hanging up to mature) so the silver charm or sixpence is very uncommon.
Anyway, about Japanese Christmas cake… it is in fact a small cream or sponge cake with pretty Christmas decorations on it, and it comes with candles like a birthday cake! Of course, it is Jesus’ birthday, so it makes sense, but if we are to wait for him to come and blow the candles out it may take some time. So, I decided to sing “Silent Night” and then blow them out myself.
Another difference in the way Christmas is celebrated in Japan is that it is a holiday for couples. I worked on Christmas Eve and everyone was warmly wishing “Merry Christmas” to each other! I thought it was just like England, everyone is in a good moood because soon work will be over and we’ll be free to enjoy the holiday with our families. In fact, everyone is Japan is jolly on Christmas Eve because it’s considered a romantic evening for couples when they’ll go out to an expensive restaurant, exactly like Valentine’s Day in England.
A really big surprise was the association of Christmas with eating KFC! Before coming here, if you told me you were going to eat KFC on Christmas Day I would feel very sorry for you indeed. But here I saw many people lugging a ‘Family Bucket” or whatever it is called home on the train, and children crying “Mummy! I want Kentucky!” Well, that was very clever of KFC…
All in all it was a nice Christmas, and though I missed my family I was able to see them on Skype and they were proud of the effort I made with my decorations and my little roast dinner.
I hope you enjoyed your Christmas whatever you did, whether you ate KFC or Christmas pudding! Wishing you all the best for 2014, and I hope you will keep reading Elegant Poupée!