The Japanese believe in the big white man in the red suit and the beard, and really pay homage to him at Xmas. Personally, I’ve really not thought that much about him for the holidays. This is because the big bearded, red-suited white man I’m referring to here is Colonel Saunders of KFC. Japan does not celebrate Xmas per se—they don’t even have the Xmas holiday off. What they do instead is pre-order a special meal from KFC, then pick it up and eat it on Xmas Eve. We’ve just found out that for Japan, Xmas means KFC…and cake.
Over the past couple of weeks while we’ve been spending our time staring at bright Xmas lights and fall foliage (‘oooh pretty lights and pretty leaves’), the rest of Japan has been busy and productive with their time, ordering their year-end movable feasts. While this America-meets-Japan tradition was unknown to us until a couple of days ago, the last day to order this special only-in-Japan moment was Dec 18th. Drats! Again, we’ve learned about a very important tradition too late.
Our only chance now is to go on Xmas Eve day to a KFC and wait in line (some reports say of up to six hours!) to try to get our hands on this overpriced chicken feast. The feast consists of a tiny bucket of chicken—this being a country where the people have tiny appetites, their bucket of chicken consists of only eight pieces—a little salad, a chocolate-covered cake, and a commemorative plate. The cost for this take-home Xmas party of finger-lickin’ goodness: around $40 US. I usually avoid KFC while in the states—but now that I’ve read about how popular it is and how it only happens on this one day, I want to do it, too. I’m such a sucker.
Though still needing to come to the local KFCs to pick up their orders, the many annoyingly organized Japanese citizens will be able to avoid the six-hour-long line—where we will be standing and watching with longing, envy, and perhaps a trifle bit of anger. After all, whose idea was KFC chicken anyway? Not mine particularly—but America’s. Shouldn’t there be an honorary line for ignorant Americans in honor of our part in this present to Japan? Perhaps there is. It’s the six-hour-long one.
So the Professor and I—unbeknownst to him—are planning to leave our house early and wait at the nearest KFC for our commemorative plate and artery-clogging meal, hoping they will have at least one more for us. We will have the memories, the tacky plate, and arterial damage for years to come.