Postcard from Bill in Japan
Associate Professor Bill Kunz taught at the University of the Ryukyus as a Fulbright Scholar.
Japan—Christmas in Japan is rather unique. It is not a holiday, and our twins, Maya and Tomo, have school that day, and Ryukyu Daigaku has classes that end at 9:10 p.m. on Christmas night. It is celebrated nonetheless.
There is a well-known street in Tokyo that features Christmas lights, and one can purchase decorations in the local department stores. Kentucky Fried Chicken is another Christmas tradition. I remember seeing Colonel Sanders dressed as Santa Claus when I was in Japan for the first time in 1993 and I found him again this week. The KFCs in Nishihara-cho are taking orders for Christmas: eight pieces of chicken, salad and a Christmas cake for around $40.
The Christmas cake is another interesting tradition. It is a white cake with strawberries that is eaten on Christmas. It is also the source of a Japanese saying. Some Japanese women over 25 will refer to themselves as Christmas cake, stating that no one wants to buy a Christmas cake after December 25 and some Japanese men do not want to marry a woman over 25.