Christmas in Shibuya

FX Holden sat on my knee and asked me to do a bit of Christmas round-up. I’m afraid it’s more socks than spacesuit as I’ve never made a big deal of it all (except for gift receiving). I’ve found the recent putting christ into christmas hoo-ha a bit puzzling and the harnessing of it to blaming the usual suspects for political purposes distasteful at best. Tis the season of malicious anecdotes. As much as I’m chuffed for people enjoying the religious significance of it, Christmas is about as Christian as the English language is English. And in case that isn’t clear I mean mainly nicked from elsewhere, in constant flux and local adaptation, and largely rescued from 20th century obscurity by finding a syncretic host in a successful economic entity. Sure there are people who see Shakespeare or an imaginary point in the 19th century as the line in the sand, but there are always prescriptivists. Just as they’ve done some wonderful things with English, I think the Japanese have done a wonderful thing with Christmas and it’s my favourite version. Essentially it celebrates the three things that have made the last five decades fun – sex, nifty shops, and cheaply available chicken. I’m personally not that keen on the effects of cheaply available chicken but I’d argue you couldn’t get a lot closer to the Mary and Joseph experience than trying to find a spare table in Harajuku or a vacant Love Hotel in Shibuya on Christmas Eve. As for the rest – eating well, seeing friends and family, feeling goodwill, and falling asleep in the afternoon – these are things we should always enjoy.

Anyway here’s a few things for now:

The Spiceblog Christmas Helper
Christmas Brunch
Breakfast for Xmas: Spinach and Eggs in Ramekins; Oven Roasted Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Prosciutto; Pancakes with Corn.

And in place of the usual Christmas cracker gags you can always use the one about the dyslexic devil worshipper.


  1. Gracianne’s avatar

    Uhmmm, Chistmas breakfast, the best part after the stress of cooking the traditional family dinner. It will be oysters and smoked salmon for me, please, with a nice cool glass of white Muscadet to clear the mist of the night before.

  2. Mcgoo’s avatar

    Yes, to answer your question. It is I little truck driver-with very short hair might I add. I would rather be over at yours for Christmas than hear about where to the place is to eat on Christmas eve in Big Tokyo. Didn’t know you could cook like that. We always ate out over here. Christmas is oozing like the blob in my area. Love the idea: hate the tinsel. Okay, I am a little grumpy since I don’t have a real Christmas tree.

  3. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey Gracianne
    Does this mean you have dinner on Christams Eve?

    Little Truck Driving Dude!!!!
    It’s you! [arms extend for hisashiburi hug] Where are you now if not in Tokyo? Do you remember the fabulous Tsukiji seafood Christmas we had, how grand. Go the fancy, I’m not but will be doing stuff over the hols.

    Deletion thing done – never happened.

  4. pseudo chef’s avatar

    Looking forward to Christmas Day – the only time the whole family can gather together for lunch without missing someone.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

  5. Gracianne’s avatar

    Yes we do have a big loong family dinner on Christmas Eve. Traditionally here, many people were attending Midnight mass, and had supper afterwards. My family forgot part of the tradition, but we still do the dinner. Of course some people have Christmas lunch instead, or both. Abundance of food is the rule – fois gras, oyster, snails :-), smoked salmon, stuffed goose or turkey, cheeses and yule log. Every year I try to bend the rule, eat less, try other things, but there is a lot of resistance. Tradition!

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Ahh work, such a curse. Hoping your family has a wonderful time together and a Merry Christmas from me.

    Gah that just sounds wonderful. There’s someting to be said for cold weather and appetite in a country with a long and glorious tradition of food. Well worth a mass. : )

    I’m afraid all I can offer is that we used to have roast pork with crackle every Christmas Eve and make sandwiches out of it while it was still hot. Hmm sounds OK.

  7. mcgoo’s avatar

    Howdy ho ho ho ho…I hope you and Toni have a spectacle of a holiday. Won’t be making my own this year…letting the professionals do it. I don’t have man that cooks with a knife from kappabashi…it was a good one with Debs whom i spoke to a few days ago. Her boy is 2!!! We should coordinate another one of these years.

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    Ho ho howdy to you oooooooo’n

    Those kappabashi knives do the biz. Not a lot of cooking this year, I’ve made my rabbit and pork terrine and my cherry snowmen so now it’s just eatin’ and boozin’. Just got back from watching Joyeaux Noel and picked up a few pressies – nice thick book, jar of mixed herb, and a bottle of French champagne. Huzzah!

    You have a lovely on and send my love to Deb and that one day may the doonery mists of Fuji come down to greet her.

    Love from Toni too.

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