Written by Jonathan Garnier
We all have that image of Japan being unique, unlike any other destination, and an unusual mix of old and new. An internship in Japan is a great adventure for any young professional, but interning abroad can also bring the challenge of being away from friends and family during important times of the year.
The holiday season and New Year in Japan might not be so familiar compared with your own traditions, however, expanding your world view and Cultural Agility forms one of your 5 Key Learning Objectives during your CRCC Asia Program. So, what might you experience during this time of year, in between your internship in Japan?
Before we dive into the tradition of KFC in Japan for Christmas (really!), you’ll need a little background on what Christmas even means in Japan.
Christmas in Japan is a purely commercial celebration with a romantic twist. Rings a bell? That’s right! Christmas in Japan is what other countries celebrate as Valentine’s Day. The closest thing to the western version of Christmas is お 正 月 , New Year’s Eve, when families get together and exchange gifts before the big countdown – so save those presents for later!
With that in mind, what might our interns be doing this week during their internship in Japan? Well, they’d have to start their preparations early if they want to truly celebrate like a local. For example, the day after Halloween, many people in Japan rush to KFC to order a customary Christmas KFC dinner and then come back on the 25th December to wait in line for a few hours to pick-up the food.
“Wait, what? KFC for Christmas? Reservations 2 months in advance? Long lines on Christmas day?” Yup! Legend has it that KFC became popular in Japan in during the 1970s, when expats living in the country could not find the traditional turkey dinner and thus improvised with KFC.
The reality might be a little more realistic. The more likely explanation is that KFC simply launched a seasonal marketing campaign which became very successful and voilà, a tradition was born!
Not in the mood for fried food? You can always enjoy the festive season in Japan with your fellow interns, admire the illuminations all around Tokyo, and eat a strawberry shortcake in a café. Plus, our CRCC Asia staff are always close by to ensure you have plenty to do, including our exclusive CRCC Asia events like tea ceremonies in Tokyo!
After all, holiday stays magic everywhere if you spend it with people you enjoy being with!
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