Japan, Christmas & KFC

Hey all!

I know this is a rather late Christmas post, but I’ve been quite busy the past few days. So anyway, Merry Christmas, everyone!

This may be my 3rd year staying in Kyoto, but this is only my 1st time being here during Christmas, since I usually return to Singapore the past couple of years. I got on the festive mood by having a Velvet cake and a Mont Blanc cake (both are kinda small in size) which were heavily discounted at a Family Mart nearby.

Long Queues Seen Outside of KFC during Christmas in Japan

Anyway, I’m not sure if many of you guys know this, but here in Japan, the locals go to KFC during Christmas.

Yes…KFC!

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KFC in BiVi Nijo, Kyoto, during Christmas Eve | 24.12.2017
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KFC in BiVi Nijo, Kyoto, during Christmas Eve | 24.12.2017

So, on Christmas Eve, as I went to watch Star Wars (oh the movie was so intense!) at the Toho Cinemas in BiVi Nijo near where I live, I happened to walk past KFC. KFC itself, is not that popular in the whole of Japan, so it’s quite uncommon to see one, as compared to McDonald’s. So I was kinda surprised to see one there, and I was even more surprised with the crowd. I could see a really long queue. The outlet itself seemed rather small, so the queue extended outside the store. And as I went up the escalator, I saw one of the customers who had just received his order, and wow, wow, wow…he was carrying BUCKETS of chicken.

I remember the 1st time I heard about Japanese people having KFC during Christmas, and I couldn’t quite believe it, because…WHY? WHY JAPANESE PEOPLE?!

The Real Reason

So apparently, I heard from one of my teachers that the chicken from KFC “resembles” turkey. And because it is just impossible to get turkey here in Japan, Japanese Christians (or some say that it’s actually foreigners instead) opted for KFC’s finger lickin’ good fried chicken due to a “Kentucky for Christmas!” marketing campaign way back in 1974. The marketing campaign turned out to be very successful and the KFC culture is still going strong, even until now.

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5 “Side Effects” I Have As A Study-Abroad Student In Japan

I’ve been staying in Kyoto since July 2015. I started out with studying Japanese in a Japanese language school, called ARC Academy. After about 1 year 9 months, I graduated from the language school and got accepted into Ritsumeikan University, majoring in Global Studies.

And since today is the 22nd of December 2017, it’s been roughly around 2.5 years of living in Kyoto. My family, relatives and friends sometimes wonder if I’m a changed man whenever I return to Singapore during my vacation breaks. They kept on thinking and assuming that due to the fact that I’ve been living in Japan for quite some time, I’ve somehow “become” Japanese.

Well, it’s definitely not true that I’ve completely changed and become a Japanese man. However, it is certainly true that I’ve changed some of my habits and mannerisms, kinda in a way that it has adjusted to the Japanese culture.

I have listed down below, the 5 “side effects” that I have after staying in Japan long-term.

 

1. I Bow…All The Time

When I say thanks, I bow. When I apologise, I bow. When I give way to oncoming vehicles or pedestrians, I bow. I bow all the time. I got so used to it that I even bow while having phone conversations! Bowing is a like a daily routine for Japanese people. One does not live in Japan and not bow at least once a day. History has it that bowing started off as a reflection of social status, but as times changed, bowing now serves for many different purposes, including greetings and even when you are asking someone for a favour.

 

2. My English Speaking Ability Got Worse

“Hey, it’s so warm today. Let’s go get aisu kurimu!” Yes, that means ‘ice cream’. For those who have learnt the basics of Japanese, you should know how Katakana works. Katakana borrows words from the English language, change its pronunciation and then add it to its dictionary. There are literally thousands of Katakana words, such as doa (door), so-se-ji (sausage), be-kudochi-zuke-ki (baked cheesecake), etc. As an English speaker, I chuckled when I was learning all these words. However, as karma would have it, I end up speaking English like any other Japanese would.

 

3. I Go To The Convenience Store Almost Every Day

Convenience stores (also known as konbini in Japanese) such as 7-Eleven and Family Mart being convenient are totally an understatement. They offer way more services than any other convenience stores around the world could. Other than buying late night snacks (really wide selection of foodstuff you can find there), I find myself paying electricity/gas bills, photocopying and scanning documents, printing photos and even using the Wi-Fi, all in these really handy stores. I can even pay for movie or concert tickets, or even night bus tickets there.

 

4. I Don’t Jaywalk Even If There Are No Cars

‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Unfortunately, Japanese people adhere to the traffic rules very strictly. Even if it’s a very narrow road, the kind of road where you can walk across in less than 3 seconds, the locals here will never jaywalk. I remember the first time I tried to jaywalk when I was in Kyoto. I regretted my action after that. It was embarrassing as I received stares from the locals. I used to always jaywalk back in my home country, but over here in Japan, no.

 

5. I Leave My Valuables Everywhere

Laptop, iPhone, wallet, bicycle, you name it. Japan is such a safe country with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Well, of course, ‘low crime’ does not mean ‘no crime’. However, here in Japan, the chances of you having your stuff stolen are so minute. I have left my stuff, especially my wallet and phone, in public places such as schools, restaurants, toilets and cafes and have yet to get it stolen. I am not trying to say that I am just waiting for it to happen, but it’s just that, everyone does it, especially the locals.

Why Start a Blog?

Hey everyone!

So yes, this blog is supposed to be like a medium for me to post and sell photos that I captured here in Japan. Along with the photos, I will tell stories with it, and probably give some advice for those who wish to travel, study or live in Japan. I’m a friendly person, so please ask me anything if you have any questions!

I’ll post my 1st photo in my next post, so please stay tuned… 😀

A Year of Absence

Hello everyone!

It has been a really tough 1 year for me, and hence, the long absence after just my first post on this blog. After much thought, I realised that I could have maybe posted 1 post each month for the past year and this, I think, would be good enough for a start.

But I guess, I should probably “start” this blog (again) afresh.

So, to continue from what happened in my previous post, I have been admitted to Ritsumeikan University, and yes, I am already in my 2nd semester here. It has been a rather difficult journey for me, since I was a Engineering / Natural Science student but here I am, as a Liberal Arts / Social Science student. To be honest, I was a bit lost, and I still kinda am. The change was rather huge for me, so I’m still trying to find my way through all these stuff. Sometimes I question myself, “Why am I here?” or maybe “Why did I even choose this major in the first place?”. I could have been in another major in another school doing scientific lab experiments or conducting tests for solar panels or wind turbines.

However, having to go through such a difficult selection process (as well as enrollment process due to its high tuition fees), I am determined to see this through. I already know that my 1st semester was really poor, and so will my 2nd semester. But come on, Asyraf! You can do this! I know you can…

Yes, I know I can…