Why smoked turkey legs in Japan?

I’ve been looking for British Xmas food in Tokyo for my new blog, and most international supermarkets that cater mainly to Japanese people such as Seijo Ishii and Kinokuniya have smoked turkey legs that look like a kind of ham rather than any uncooked turkey. 82 Ale House also had it on the menu last night.

This could well be just my overactive imagination, but I can picture it being something imported for the Occupation troops and then picked up by the locals, as was the case with spam. Then again, Japanese bacon is always cooked and more like ham too, so maybe it is just the influence of the big ham companies like Nippon Ham and Nissin. Why the ham companies are so big would be another good JapanExplained kind of question, of course…

Why are there Xmas-themed love hotels

You can see Santa on top of one from parts of Enoshima beach, which makes for a rather bizarre sunbathing experience.

I’ve always assumed it’s because Xmas day is the chief day for romantic meals and love hotel trips in Japan, even more so than Valentine’s Day (which is mainly taken up with distributing giri choko to your colleagues). According to Japanzine, however, it’s because there’s something pervy about Santa:

Santa’s Xmas Shame

The thing I really learned from that article is that they are all part of one chain, so the alternative explanation is that it was a random business decision and that there’s nothing cultural going on at all.

More on Japanese Xmas:

Japanese Xmas explained

or click on the category below for more posts on the topic.

Photo stolen from here.

Why is Aud Lang Syne not played at New Year in Japan but instead played by department stores and local councils at the end of the day?

The Japanese know the tune very well from the traditional graduation song “Hotaru no hikari”, a very pre-war sounding song about a student studying by the light of a firefly and then going on to serve his country, and most are unaware that it is not Japanese. How a graduation song became a end-of-sale-of-Louis-Vuitton-for-the-day song I’m not sure, but it does have a kind of ending feeling to it.

Lots more Japanese New Year explanations and links here.

Why do the Japanese eat chicken (including KFC) for Christmas?

The Japanese do not generally have the appetites or the ovens to cook and eat a turkey, so KFC was probably pushing on an open door when they started advertising the possibility of having an American Xmas with Kentucky chicken in the 1970’s- it is, after all, American…

More Japanese Xmas cheer in Japanese Xmas explained.