Happy Holidays

As the end of the year comes close, we would like to wish our fellow Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please stay safe in your travels and enjoy time with your family and friends. We would also like to thank the local Rotary Groups, particularly the Balboa club for your support of our exchange and sister city programs.

If you are wondering whether Christmas celebrations are being held in our sister city, here are some snippets of what happens in Japan at Christmas time:

  • Christmas is celebrated despite only¬†0.5% of the country being Christian
  • It is celebrated on Christmas Eve not Christmas Day
  • The male of the house (as a general rule) brings home Christmas cake to be eaten on Christmas eve with the family
  • KFC (yes Kentucky Fried Chicken) have done an incredibly successful marketing campaign to make the Japanese think that westerners have a chicken Christmas dinner. People pre-order their ‘Christmas dinner’ at KFC and then line up on Christmas eve to pick up their order.


  • Presents are exchanged, but generally this is mostly between those in a romantic relationships. It is actually more like Valentines Day in this respect. Teddy bears, rings and small but expensive gifts can be given

There is also an unusual twist to the Christmas cake thing. They are heavily discounted on the 25th of December so that they are all sold out by the 26th. This has led to many young Japanese women being labeled as ‘Christmas cakes’. If they are not wed by their 25th birthday, they are then classed as being heavily discounted in order to be married asap before they turn 26. Fascinating.