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Friday, November 20, 2015

KFC No Turkey In Japan

When I was in Japan, I didn't have much luck with Thanksgiving.

Fist off, being a Canadian, apparently only Canadians knew that Thanksgiving was celebrated in Canada a whole month earlier than the U.S. (By the way, I realize I am a whole week ahead of the whole Thanksgiving in the U.S. thing, okay?)

We Canadians know that. We also know that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in November.

We Canadians know more about our neighbors to the south—the south North Americans, or since there is NAFTA, the central North Americans—than they know about the true North Americans - Canadians, or in reality, the Inuit (Don't call them Eskimo!) and the Native Bands.

And no, just because you own Alaska doesn't mean you are more north than Canada. For the record, we probably know more about Alaska than the rest of central North America does.

There are exceptions, of course, and I know many Americans who have a fantastic global awareness.

Perhaps I give too much credit to Canadians, because Buddha knows that there are plenty of truly ignorant Canadians trudging through the snow to get to their sled dogs every morning so that they can get to the Toronto subway line that finally runs on electricity.

Canada, does, after all now have electricity to 60 percent of the country.

Anyhow, while in Japan, I quietly suffered through Thanksgiving when no one—except Matthew—ever wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of family, food and family arguments, and I missed that in Japan. Sort off. Boo-freaking-hoo. Whatever. I'm over it. No, really.

Knowing that sting, I decided in 1990 in Japan that I would try and do something special for my American girlfriend, Ashley, so that she could celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving in Japan in style.

I decided I would get a hold of a turkey and ensure I was the best boyfriend ever.

Apparently turkey's in Japan are about as common as the dodo, only less so, as I was able to get one thanks to the machinations of my board of education, and the help of one restaurant in a city 10 kilometers south of where I lived that had an oven big enough to cook it for me.

Anyhow, that whole thing blew up in my face - you should read that wonder story of rife and ruin HERE. You might wonder why I didn't decide to swear off women all together. Sometimes I wonder, as well.

Sometimes I think I'm not enough of an A-hole and allow people to walk all over me and jerk me around. Probably. I both hate and like that part of myself, but it still made for a lot of frickin' loneliness. But no one cares about that. Let's talk turkey.

Who says there's no turkey in Japan? I was there.

Turkey is just one of those birds that the Japanese never got into because there simply wasn't much call for them outside the U.S. military bases (which is where I believe the turkey I had was ultimately from).

Anyhow, Americans and Canadians don't eat a lot of turkey throughout the year back home… perhaps only indulging at each other's Thanksgiving, Christmas or maybe whenever there's a Hungry Man TV dinner purchased.

I am not talking about deli meats, by the way, but rather chunks of real meaty bird flesh not polluted as turducken (a chicken stuffed inside a duck which is then stuffed inside a turkey), which I am sure is very good, but that's because it is deep-fried and everything deep-fried is very good. It's why I take an anti-cholesterol pill every day.

So while the Japanese do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they have succumbed to the hallmark holiday of Christmas.

It is guesstimated that there are about three-million Japanese Christians, but it still boils down to less than one percent.

And yet Japan and it's 99 percent Buddhist population likes to also celebrate Christmas.

It's cool. I think they just want a reason to celebrate anything.

While the Japanese have caught onto the commercialism of Christmas with far greater zeal than is healthy—Santa Claus, parties, gift exchanges—but no turkey gobbling.

So what food would the Japanese consume on Christmas? Sushi? Yakitori? Close…

No… they eat Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Not fried chicken… we're talking KFC. See image at very top... finger-licking good!

And it all goes back 41-years ago, when KFC, then known by the long but accurate moniker Kentucky Fried Chicken, ushered in a fanatically successful advertising campaign that grabbed the Japanese by the throat and never let go.

The Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing plan offered foreigners (initially) the opportunity to purchase a Christmas meal for ¥2,920 (then-US$10).

The 2015 KFC Japan is offering a meal for barrel of chicken for ¥4090 (US $33.29). 

The 2015 KFC Christmas Dinner - where the fug are the fries and lumpy gravy?!
Sure it's overpriced compared to what you could get back in the U.S. and U.S. Junior (Canada), but Christmas is a time for giving. These days that means with one's wallet, so fork it over.

You don't have to pre-order your meal, but apparently there are line-ups on Christmas Day that rival what I had to put up with to purchase tickets for The Who's final concert tour back in 1989 or something like that. All I know is that it was an overnight camping trip and there was a lot of funny tobacco being passed around to keep everyone in the line awake and warm... though come to think of it, it didn't keep people as awake as they thought. I wish we had remembered to bring food. KFC would have been good, but then there's have been a need to go to the bathroom, and sine we were outdoors, it wasn't going to fun for anyone.

Who's next? While that could mean which Who member is going to pass away (couldn't the remaining members reform with the surviving Beatles members and create one really great and old group?)

I'm actually exaggerating about the KFC line-ups on Christmas day, but sometimes there was a two-hour line-up.

I once had to wait 30 minutes in Toronto on a Tuesday, non-holiday, because the staff at my local KFC are incompetent boobs.

Anyone who lives in Chicago or the surrounding areas is also keenly aware that unless there's a line-up of at least an hour at any type of non-fastfood restaurant, the food there isn't that good.

Line-ups are all about perspective. Still... two hours is a long time on Christmas, so a pre-order is suggested and recommended.

Of course, you don't have to be like the rest of the sheepeople and have to get KFC because it's the thing that everyone says you should do.

Most of the Jewish folk I know get Chinese food at Christmas. I'm just saying, is all. There are other delicious options.

Anyhow... to my American comrades, Happy Thanksgiving, next week! If you have one, enjoy the turkey. I won't mention it next week... except to a select few with whom I have held personal correspondence. You four know who you are.

As for the rest... if you are in Japan, just know that since the Japanese celebrate Christmas with KFC, you can also do the same for Thanksgiving.

I don't think that chicken is remotely close to a substitute for a turkey dinner, but when in Japan, do as the Japanese do.

Lastly, for some Thanksgiving entertainment, check out this Japanese urban legend involving KFC's Colonel Sanders and the Japanese version of the Chicago Cubs baseball team - HERE.

Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. As I start cleaning and cooking for family next week, I will be thinking about serving KFC instead of the whole turkey deal. Lol. That one act could possibly end 32 years of marriage ... naah ... (too much water under the bridge) ... maybe a small separation until I cook the darn turkey. ;-)