Our Christmas Eve Tradition

We seem to have started a new family Christmas Eve tradition.....

First, we enjoyed the free mini concert that the Kyoto Hotel Okura puts on in their nicely-decorated lobby each Christmas Eve. We enjoyed it last year as well, when they had a men's choir. This year they featured the Tokyo Horn Spieler horn quintette.

They started out with a huge alphorn (looks like a 20-foot-long tobacco pipe originally used to communicate long distances in the Alps), then moved on to a pair of natural horns (like French Horns, without keys or valves -- basically, just an alphorn all wound up). Finally, they moved on to the main bulk of the thirty-minute concert with three French Horns and an alto tuba.

They played a lot of standard Christmas favorites, and some horn-friendly excerpts from some Classical music. We all enjoyed it, and Anthony even clapped of his own volition. He was a good, well-behaved boy (about which Mommy and Daddy were very happy, after having been a bit worried about how it would turn out).

Before leaving, we took a close-up look at the hotel's outside light display (which we've seen many times driving by, and which we saw last year as well). It's quite nice and ピカピカ (“pika-pika”, sparkling/twinkling).

Also before leaving, we picked up an order from one of the hotel restaurant that Fumie had phoned in earlier: a Christmas Eve chicken diner.


This is the chicken!

I guess that chicken is to a Japanese Christmas Eve somewhat what turkey is to an American Thanksgiving. I've always known that it's popular for couples to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken (yes, there are KFCs all over Japan) on Christmas Eve, but I'd not known that it was deeper than that. (I'd always thought that the KFC thing was sort of like a KFC/Japanese version of an American florist pushing “Secretary's Day”). But Fumie, for example, has strong memories of Mom's Christmas Eve chicken dinner, and wanted to try the same type of thing here (but having Hotel Okura cook it instead of Mom).

So, we brought home a cooked whole chicken, potatoes au gratin, and two jelled loaf-related things of indeterminable content. The chicken was very nicely spiced and, well, just perfect, as were the potatoes. The other things were also good, but I don't know what they were.

We got home and Fumie got everything set up, and we had a dinner that capped off an evening that I'm sure will be a tradition for years to come.



Ready to eat!

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