KFC and Christmas Stars

#Haikai Challenge #13 (12/23/17): Christmas #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga For Frank Tassone’s haiku challenge – Christmas is the kigo.

KFC and Christmas Stars

Our first Christmas together we spent in your home of Hakone. I was transfixed by the beauty of where you grew up with Mt. Komagatake as a backdrop to Mt. Fuji and the lapping clarity of Lake Ashi. To my vast amusement, I discovered Colonel Sanders was Father Christmas’ main man and that Christmas dinners were KFC – the commercials on TV with Japanese “Victorian” skaters and builders of snow men, green wreaths, reindeer – I watched hypnotized and wanting to laugh aloud at the incongruous but cheerful visions dancing outside of my head, but I didn’t want to be insulting. It was a great relief to see your full lips twisted in a wry grin and your eyes sparkling with impish delight. “I’ll have to use some connections”, you said, “it is too late to order now. Most people would have ordered their dinners by the end of October.” Yes, KFC is a big deal dinner! Specially decorated buckets, meals with elaborate cakes and bottles of wine or sake – and when we went to pick up our dinner on Christmas eve, we stood in line for an hour waiting our turn.

Families and groups of single friends happy and laughing, anticipating. Inside the KFC – a bar with red and green flashing lights and a bartender in a Santa cap! A lifesize Colonel Sanders figure with a Santa cap and a wreath of silk holly around his neck! I stood gaping at the tables of families digging into the buckets pulling out special plates with the date and under that, layers of chicken, cole slaw, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, Christmas cake, bottle of sake – like an endless treasure box. I hadn’t had that sense of delight since the first time I walked into Studio 54. It was just as surreal too.

We snagged our bucket and walked home in the crisp evening. In heavy coats we sat in your garden and wolfed our way through the chicken – you going for the dark meat, me going for the light. And it tasted exactly the same! We passed the bottle of surprisingly good sake between the two of us as we ate. Totally sated with food and wine, we lay in the gravel of your karesansui and made “snow” angels, laughing at each other, our laughter carrying through the clear mountain air. I lay there looking up into the stars twinkling over Japan. You leaned over to touch my face and then kissed me, both of our faces greasy and salty. “Come and look at the city stars, beloved.” You pulled me up and we walked to the edge of your property looking down over the city. I was silenced by the beauty of the lights below me – the colors, the shapes, glittering like a huge gaudy brooch for earth. And then I looked back up at the night sky, Mt. Fuji in the distance blocking out a space of black. I fell in love with stars, yet again. Several meteors streaked to earth – I wept for such beauty that would never again be seen, in that same way.

flaming stars outshine
earthly stars and fall from
the sky – meteor snow

public domain image

 

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. merrildsmith
    Dec 24, 2017 @ 06:34:45

    Wow–this was like a poem version of the best Christmas movie ever– silly KFC, food, romance, and then the meteors. Just glorious.
    And so funny and fun about the KFC there! 🙂

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Dec 24, 2017 @ 11:34:17

      Thanks! Yeppers. The Japanese love their KFC for Christmas. It started back in the late 70’s, early 80’s. It is unreal all the lead up to KFC and Christmas, people standing in long lines, the same and cake given along with the dinner, special bucket and plates. When we marrued, my first husband inadvertently threw away that bucket. He bought a bunch of Christmas stickers to decorate the “new” bucket. We do KFC as a tradition on Christmas eve now and have a goid laugh.

      Reply

  2. julespaige
    Dec 24, 2017 @ 10:49:32

    Starstruck – wonderful story – thank you for sharing it.
    Continued light and hugs sent your way.

    Reply

  3. Frank J. Tassone
    Dec 24, 2017 @ 11:42:23

    Wonderful, Toni! Is this a revision of a previous KFC Christmas poem? I remember reading one like this on one of dVerse’s haibun Mondays.

    Reply

  4. MNL
    Dec 27, 2017 @ 07:50:56

    that’s pretty awesome. Fried chicken on Christmas sounds like fun. Probably easier to get than turkey in Japan as well. I remembered when I lived there a couple of the expats had to jump through a few hoops to get ahold of a turkey. It might have changed though as that was a few decades ago.

    Reply

  5. kanzensakura
    Dec 27, 2017 @ 12:21:52

    It probably has changed but not that mych. They still love their Christmas KFC.

    Reply

  6. Trackback: #Haikai Challenge #14 (12/30/17): New Year #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #renga #haiga – Frank J. Tassone

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