…does it exist at all?–we could ask a Japanese friend (imaginary or real) and, much to our surprise, they would nod eagerly. In spite of the fact that only 1% of the Japanese population are Christians, Christmas–perhaps the most important religious holiday–had taken root in Japanese tradition a long time ago. Of course it’s a bit different there…but how? Let’s find out!

Love under the Christmas tree

In Japan, the family-oriented part of the winter holiday season is the period right before and after New Year, so Christmas is all about romantic love, really. Actually, there is some pressure on single people at this time of the year: you really need to be with a significant other on Christmas Eve, otherwise you’ll spend the next year alone! So everyone’s in a hurry to get a date, or deeto, as the Japanese version comes from the English word, too. But why the big fuss? As Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan (thus everyone works that day), it is restricted to one evening, that of 24 December…so they really need to speed up!

Kurisumasu ni wa Kentucky!

At first you’ll only understand „Kentucky”, and the association is right: it is indeed about everybody’s favourite fast food, KFC. But what does it have to do with Christmas? As eating turkey is not common in Japan (and besides, the huge animal wouldn’t even fit in tiny Japanese ovens), the Japanese have decided that fried chicken is the real Christmas deal. The catchphrase mentioned in the title was part of a very successful marketing campaign back in the 1970’s: until then, KFC was always in the red at the end of the year. But „KFC for Christmas” changed everything, and since then, every Christmas Eve there are long queues in front of KFCs all over Japan, waiting to pick up the „traditional” Christmas bucket!

The other Xmas must-have is the cake: Christmas cake in Japan is a sponge one, with a layer of vanilla cream sauce and fruit on top. It’s not as delicious as it looks, they say.

Christmas lights

Whenever the Japanese take a fancy to something that comes from another culture, they will do everything and anything to make it as Japanese as possible; this applies to installing Christmas lights on the streets in December. In fact, these light structures and statues surpass any other Christmas installations in the world and have become a tourist attraction! Big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto are world famous for their illuminated central streets and giant Christmas trees. The Japanese also like to have Christmas trees at home; however, these are either fake trees or potted ones: they never take home pine trees that have been cut down.

As Christmas is approaching, we all want to surprise our beloved ones with the most special presents…but we should also remember that quality time spent together is the most heartfelt gift of all. Purchase Sushi Sei gift coupons for any chosen amount and share an exquisite Japanese dinner with those who are close to your heart!

At Sushi Sei, we take care that our dishes are made at high standards and from excellent ingredients. Taste, texture and nutrients are balanced in our meals; whether you arrive alone or with your significant other, family or friends, we await you with a friendly and elegant atmosphere. Book a table now, or have our award-winning meals delivered to your home!