Merry Christmas everybody! We have had a very Tokyo Christmas — we observed many of the traditions that we hear are the norm here, plus some of our own devising.
Christmas eve we had a lovely seafood feast, ala the Italians/Laedleins. I found king crab legs and jumbo shrimp, and we had spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, and we added some mini-scallops this year. We also watched Love Actually, which is our favorite Christmas movie.
Then today we opened some packages and called family in the morning, then headed off to Ginza to see the decorations and get some Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is Japanese tradition on Christmas! They had all sorts of special Christmas meals, and Jen and I ordered the “couples’ special” which turned out to be a lot of fried chicken for people who aren’t used to eating that much grease… but it was tasty! Christmas here is a couples holiday, and most people have work, so it’s an interesting dynamic.
Next, our bellies full of chicken, we went to see the new James Bond movie. It was good fun, although we were definitely the only people chuckling at the jokes — not sure if they weren’t translated well, or it just doesn’t seem very funny cross-culturally, or if laughing aloud in the theatre is unforgivably rude. On the way home after we saw a lot of holiday lights and decorations, an ice skating rink, some funny festive admonitions in english, and we procured some strawberry short cake, another Japanese Christmas tradition. (Why? I’m not sure — none of the ingredients are in season here either… Nor, obviously, is KFC exactly a time honored recipe passed down from father to daughter… We hear that some Japanese people think that all Americans eat KFC on Christmas as well.)
This evening we have continued phoning relatives, and made a lovely roasted beet, goat cheese, and toasted walnut salad (a beautifully healthy contrast to the fried chicken) and home-made pesto pizzas with spinach, olives, artichokes, chicken apple sausage, and tomato. Oiiiiishiiiiiiii. (Or, as the people on Japanese travel-tv always say very dramatically…. Umaaaiiiiiiiiiii.)