The True Meaning of KFC Christmas

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Much has been written about Japan’s predilection for Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas, but most of it fails to understand just what it is that a cardboard bucket of fried chicken on Christmas exemplifies — KFC, as a Westernized holiday ideal, has come to represent a culturally aligned yearning for a no-questions-asked familial harmony.

Precisely how that happened is opaque. On the website of the Mitsubishi Corporation, which first brought KFC to Japan in 1970 for the Osaka World Expo, it’s noted that by 1974 the Christmas Party Barrel was widely promoted, thus “beginning the uniquely Japanese lifestyle of eating KFC on Christmas.” In some articles, former KFC Japan CEO Takeshi Okawara says that the idea of Kentucky for Christmas came to him in a dream. In others, KFC for Christmas is proffered as the closest substitute to turkey for lonely expats.

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‘Stranger Things’ Mixes a Collusion Cocktail With a Shot of Stolichnaya

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Stranger Things 2, which premiered almost a year after the 2016 presidential election, is a whole different demogorgon. Gone are the ominous blinking lights and the focus on the familial home as a site of potential terror. This season, the entire town of Hawkins is under siege from something much bigger; the monster looms over the town, invisible to most residents, and at the same time, cancerous roots grow below them, spreading rot and decay. We don’t know yet what the monsters want from Hawkins, but we know they’re laying the groundwork to get it.

It is a deliberate pivot from the previous season, and everything from the dialogue to the brands referenced supports this reading. Stranger Things relies heavily on brands to anchor itself in a specific time period; entire plotlines develop around nostalgic names like Eggo and Radio Shack. (The proliferation of Cheetos references this season is certainly intriguing.) And like the toaster waffles of the previous season, one brand came to the forefront in Stranger Things 2: the Russian vodka Stolichnaya.