Saturday, October 07, 2006

Order Your Christmas Cake Now!

This morning I went out early to get some milk from a convenience store and found the flier pictured above in the bag when I got home. Today is October 7 and Christmas cakes are already being advertised? I thought the U.S. pushed Christmas early and often but this definitely has it beat. I guess that, without Halloween to peddle extra wares, the Japanese shops have to milk Christmas for all its worth.

For my friends in the U.S., I'll explain a few things about Japan and Christmas. First of all, it's not a national holiday here. It's more akin to the way Valentine's Day or Halloween are regarded in the states. You don't get the day off but there's junk around to remind you to consume as many holiday-themed goods as possible.

Additionally, the Japanese celebrate differently. It's generally not celebrated as a family holiday. In fact, one of the traditions is for young men to give their girlfriends expensive jewelry (a Tiffany's box is a plus) and go for a night of action at a (usually expensive) hotel.

Another tradition is eating Christmas cake. I'm not sure where the notion that this type of thing is traditional in the west comes from but, unless they've been told otherwise, many Japanese people think occidentals celebrate Christmas by having a birthday-cake style cake and having a party. If you click on the picture of the flier above and load the bigger version, you can see the types of cakes more clearly. Of course, they also have to have plastic Santas on them!

As an aside, since I was feeling lazier than usual, I indulged in a carton of wicked Milk Tea. I love this drink but only indulge in it about 4 times a year because it is incredibly bad for you. In addition to being as full of sugar as a soft drink, it also contains coconut oil. Given my fondness for coconut, this is probably one of the reasons I like this tea so much. It has a nice floral tea taste as well so that helps. Ironically, while I love this pre-made Lipton tea, I'm generally not keen on their teabags as they are weak and bitter (especially what is sold under a yellow label in Japan). My former boss used to say he thought Lipton teabags were made with the sweepings from the floor where they process the tea.


Leo said...

Just wait, in a few years, everyplace will start the Christmas push in July. I remember having a Yule Log every Christmas back as kid. That was made with frosting. Then it was switched to an Yule Log from Baskin & Robbins with ice cream as the inner filling. Thanks for the right up. Its nice to get a different perspective on things.

Shari said...

Oooo, I forgot about yule logs...probably because we never had them in my family when we celebrated Christmas. For us, it was always like Thanksgiving, Sr. with pies (usually pumpkin) for dessert.

However, I don't think the Japanese would have a clue about yule logs! I've never seen a Christmas cake that remotely resembled one in shape or design, though there could actually be a reasonable origin story there.