Walking the wintery roads in Japan, you’ll see the familiar sight of Christmas lights illuminating the sidewalks of Sapporo. Street after street, from Sapporo to Odori, from Odori to Susukino, the air is filled with the promise of Christmas. Where most would anticipate children running off as their parents chased them, in its place, what you’ll find here are couples giggling into each other’s shoulders as they make their way hand in hand to their destination. Christmas in Japan, after all, is a time that’s reserved almost exclusively for couples.
If you’re spending Christmas here with your family, take a look around and you’ll most likely find yourself out of place among the sea of lovers that’ll flood the shopping areas during the season. After calling up a nice restaurant and booking a table for a nice family dinner to celebrate the holidays, what you’ll soon realize is that you’re probably one of the only groups out for a fancy meal among the couples that are staring across the table at each other. Treated as a holiday that’s similar to Valentine’s day, couples in Japan usually mark this day with a night out to an upscale restaurant. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being out and about while having fun with your family, but while you’re here, it’s good to keep in mind the difference that separates a Japanese Christmas to the one that you’re familiar with. It’s nice to spend time with your family, but how much you’ll enjoy being seated between tables of couples really depends on how much fun you can derive from the lovey-dovey atmosphere of Christmas in Japan.
If finding yourself between couples isn’t your thing, then there’s another thing Christmases here come with, and that’s Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). That’s right, KFC. The brainchild of Takeshi Okawara, the manager of the first branch in the country, the idea of selling KFC on Christmas came to him in the middle of the night after he recalled an overheard conversation between foreigners that were musing over the fact that they wouldn’t be having turkey for Christmas. If they couldn’t get turkey, how about a bucket of chicken instead? And so he started selling his Party Barrels as a substitute. When the plan took off on a national scale, it took the nation by storm, and now, the idea of has since embedded itself into the very concept of Christmas here and the season of giving just wouldn’t be complete without a bucket of deep fried chicken on the family table. Honestly, who’s ever said no to some fried chicken?
It doesn’t matter whether you chose to indulge in KFC or book your family a dinner at a fancy restaurant only to find yourself bookended by lovers, either experience is a uniquely Japanese one, and that’s where the fun lies. With these two things to look forward to if you’re here, what are you waiting for? Book yourself a trip here to participate in the unparalleled experience of Christmas here!
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