Christmas is in the air at Sakai Jr. High, and it smells a little bit like fried chicken.
As I prepare to head back to Chicago for the holidays, I've been wrapping up my fall term classes with a Christmas-themed lesson. I lead the students through some games, talk about Christmas traditions in the U.S., and finish things up by asking them to decorate an ornament for a big paper tree I've taped up where my English bulletin board is supposed to be. But as much as I hope they learn about my culture through this lesson, I'm learning a ton about theirs.
For example, I learned that KFC is the food of choice for Christmas dinner in Japan.
Yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken. But here, they just just call it "Ke-n-ta-kki." Colonel Sanders is right up there with Santa Claus in the Japanese Christmas tradition. Please know that I'm not trying to judge the validity of the holiday custom - it's just that where I come from, KFC is usually reserved for summertime picnics, Monday night football, or maybe a dinnertime drive-thru run for a frenzied soccer mom, so the contrast is striking.
And what's KFC doing in Japan in the first place? Come to think of it, what's Christmas doing in Japan? Oh, the joys of globalization...
I've yet to visit a KFC here in Fukui (I try to stick to local fare, like sushi, or maybe shirako...). So, mom, if you're reading this, you can skip the turkey and ham for Christmas dinner. Better make it a bucket of Original Recipe. Or maybe some Extra Crispy, おねがいします. And please don't forget the biscuits.