Markets offer a taste of Christmas cheer

December 14th, 2010 by Felicity Hughes

Over the past few decades, Japan has developed its own slightly different ways of celebrating Christmas. Take the phenomenon of the Christmas Kentucky Fried Christmas meal, which began life as a clever campaign by the company and managed to hoodwink the nation into believing that Americans ate roasted chicken to celebrate the day. As ovens are not a feature of Japanese kitchens, KFC was marketed as the next best thing. Ever since the resulting stampede for fried chicken on Christmas Eve has made the company’s cash registers ring with cheer.

So yeah, some imported traditions might get lost in translation (and vice versa), but we’re excited about the rise in popularity of the Christmas market. Modeled on European Christmas markets, the trend has been driven by collaborations with organizations like the Goethe-Institut Japan (an organization funded by the German government), which is keen to introduce its native culture. Last year the first “Marché de Nöel de Strasbourg a Tokyo,” supported by a number of organizations including Air France and Tourism Alsace, brought a little piece of Strasbourg to Tokyo International Forum. Modeled on the Christmas market held in Strasbourg, Alsace, the event, according to Tokyo Walker, was attended by 580,000 people last year and this year it’s being held again from Dec. 10 to 25. The stalls gathered around a real Christmas tree are selling a variety of European food including fresh bread, cheeses, quiche and mulled wine. Also on sale are Christmas decorations and handicrafts from Alsace.

Nearby, at Hibiya Plaza, a rival market has set up shop this year. “Wien Christmas in Tokyo” is sponsored by the Austrian Embassy and Wien Products, among others, and aims to import the feeling of Vienna’s Christmas market to Hibiya. Again, the centerpiece is a genuine Christmas tree around which stalls offer similar fare to the Strasbourg market. They’ll also be a brass band playing classical music to give the market a traditional Viennese feel. The market will be open until Dec. 26.

Besides these markets, we’ve counted a further three being held in and around the Tokyo area: Roppongi Hills Christmas Market (supported by the Goethe Institute) is held on the roof top plaza 2F West Walk until Dec. 25, Tokyo Midtown Marche de Noel is held at B1 Galleria until Dec. 26 and Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market is on until Dec. 25.

While we agree that Col. Sanders bears a resemblance to Santa, for a genuine Christmasy experience, a glass of mulled wine and the scent of a real pine tree beats devouring a bucket of greasy KFC any day.

One Response

  1. I saw the one at the Tokyo International Forum this weekend! Glad I’d read this.

RSS

Recent Posts

  • Ginza Cozy Corner takes dessert into hyperdrive with ‘Star Wars’ cakes

    One Japanese confectionary vendor is about to find the Force deep within a sweet tie-up. Ahead of the December release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Ginza Cozy Corner, which has outlets nationwide, has made a line of “Star Wars” sweets that are truly out of this world. The treats themselves are all based on people […]

  • Warning: This viral video of high school girls might make you blush

    Cosmetic company Shiseido has recently uploaded a YouTube video that is blowing viewers’ minds with a bona fide twist. In the promo video, titled “High School Girl? — The Makeup Secrets of High School Girls,” the camera weaves through a classroom full of drop-dead cute young women who pout and wink like true pop idols. […]

  • Sharp dials up the fan service to celebrate 20 years of ‘Evangelion’

    For those who have always dreamed of owning an Evangelion robot, this might be the closest you get. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the popular “Neon Genesis Evangelion” animated series, Sharp is releasing a special smartphone that pays homage to the show both in the device’s hardware and software. The phone itself is detailed […]

  • Tokyo plugs into Google Play Music

    If you haven’t heard the latest news from Google Play, you may have missed your opportunity to tune into a Google Play Billboard. From Oct. 8-24, music lovers can head over to Shibuya to, literally, plug into a selection of over 3,500 songs. The Google Play Billboard is meant to give visitors a much-needed chance […]

  • J-blip: Ipsa’s Face Melody

    Every face has a name, a story and . . . a song? That’s the idea behind cosmetic company Ipsa’s newest creation. We should, uh, take it at face value, but the company claims that its Face Melody program can measure the user’s appearance and write a unique tune based on their attributes. The application […]

  • Japan celebrates the GIFs that keep on giving

    GIFs — which stands for graphics interchange format, don’t you know — have made the Internet an even more enjoyable place than before, and we have the receipts to prove it. These digital designs were technological wonders back in the days of AOL and Netscape (Google it, kids). But they eventually went from high-tech animation […]

  • Smart absolutions: Send off your sins with just one click

    The two-step method to purification.

  • Attack of the plant hunters, green carnivores and fleshy girls

    Never promised you a rose garden, but how about a fleshy plant or a stag-horn fern?

  • Make 12th-century art using 21st-century tech

    The Choju-Giga, the famed animal caricature ink paintings displayed Kyoto’s Kozan-ji Temple have been captivating people for centuries. The four scrolls, which date to the 12th and 13th centuries and depict rabbits and monkeys getting into mischief, are often cited as the first manga comics in Japan’s history. Now art lovers can create their own […]

  • Fuji Rock bound? Make sure you survive in style

    A few items that will help you stay dry and happy during Fuji Rock Festival’s unpredictable weather.