Christmas Dates and Christmas Cakes

December 17, 2007 at 9:38 am

Judging by the festive commercialism, Christmas is upon us. It may not snow in Los Angeles, but when there’s a signpost at the mall heralding the arrival of “hunky Santa” you know something’s around the corner.

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In Japan, Christmas is harder to figure out. There’s a fair share of reindeer and candy canes in the storefront but come December 25th people are still grinding numbers at work. In Los Angeles, the entire city shuts down.

And while Christmas Eve means quality time with family, in Japan it’s date night. Couples will go out to a fancy restaurant, he’ll hand her a gift, she’ll gush, he’ll take her to a “love hotel” (more about this later) and she’ll call her mom to say she’s staying over “at a friend’s.”

I was never lucky enough to have a date on Christmas Eve. One year, I found myself hanging out with the lonely hearts club, in fact. A group of us hit up a kombini for booze and dried squid and then laid under a kotatsu (electrically heated table) all night watching comedy shows. In the morning, my breath reeked of something nasty.

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In Japan, Christmas is also the time for strawberry shortcake. They coat it with white frosting, create a wintry scene with miniature reindeer and snowmen, and write “Merry Christmas” in red gel. It’s one of those cakes you wish you could both have and eat at the same time. What I didn’t know until recently was that Christmas cakes started as a British tradition though they’re generally fruitcakes. Like always, the Japanese took an idea and made it better. =P

Christmas in Japan may not conjure up the same fuzzy feelings as when I’m home with family, but in its own way it’s a lot of fun. I was so happy one year when I found someone to share a Christmas cake with. Maybe when I’m in town again I’ll snag someone for a Christmas date! (^_<)

Himawari

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Entry filed under: Japanese Culture, Japanese Foods. Tags: , , , .

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