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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.

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