Ah, Christmas. The time of year when familiar melodies drift into the street and storefronts are cheerfully decked with garlands, sparkly ornaments, red plush, and white marabou trim. The air is crisp and cool, and the KFC Colonel is dressed as Santa...wait, what?
There is a five-foot-tall fiberglass Colonel in front of nearly all the KFC establishments in Tokyo. And, apparently, Colonel Sanders is happy to dress up as Santa between the middle of November and the end of December.
And if you face the dilemma of wanting to broadcast your Christmas spirit but need the full-face coverage of a ski mask, then this is the headgear for you!
For a country that really only celebrates Christmas as a retail holiday (the vast majority of Japanese are secular or Buddhist/Shinto), it's hard to get away from Christmas themes. It's everywhere - mall decorations, pastries shaped like trees or stars, seasonal foofoo coffee drinks, even all the employees at the theme park we visited this past weekend were dressed in some form of Santa suit. The 100-yen store down the block has a display of garlands, ornaments, window decorations, and clip-on antlers.
The Tokyo metropolitan area has also taken decorating with lights to interesting lengths, but that's a whole other topic that I'll get to later. Stay tuned!