No Cake on Christmas?! *mind explodes*

Whew, this one is even later than yesterday's, and I'm afraid that if I don't do it before I leave work it just won't happen until tomorrow. So here goes!

I've recently started doing Christmas Lessons (or at least 10 minute blurbs depending on the teacher) and it, like so many other lessons, has left me realizing all the things I know of, but not too much about. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, for example. I have little vague ideas about both, but I don't know what days they happen on and I'm pretty hazy on the meanings of their various symbols. For all I know, SNL's depiction of Hanukkah Harry as the Santa Claus of Judaism doesn't venture far from the truth, and Kwanzaa... if only I could access Wikipedia IN CLASS.

The worst part is that our situation lets us bullshit with impunity. Some of the teachers might be the wiser, but most of them don't even know Hanukkah exists, let alone any other Decembery holiday. I'm not sure how tech savvy the kids are, but most of the adults aren't exactly 133t haXors, and so I'm never too worried that they'll look up some fact I might have taken some liberties with. This is not to say that I'm constantly making things up - but rather that I sometimes feel much better equipped as an emissary from the suburbs of Colorado than I do as the source on all things American.

I think it would be sweet to make up your own fictional winter holiday and teach a class about it. In fact, treating any work of complete fiction as fact is something that appeals in the deviant in me quite a lot, even if my moral compass doesn't permit me to indulge often. Japan has just the right amount of isolation for this, after all - the odds of most of the people traveling to America is pretty low, and even those that do are likely to only see a tiny fraction of the country. Hell, most Americans only see a tiny fraction of the country...but the difference is that we learn a whole lot about the other States from various sources. The number of "well-known" States barely spikes past the single digits, so whose to say that Nebraska doesn't build huge sculptures of corn every winter to worship their heathen God, Cornar the Everbuttery? I smell a lesson plan already.

The original reason I was going to make this post was to reveal some of my discoveries about Japan's Christmas, and to ask a few questions as well. Did you know that there's an old Japanese God who bears a strange resemblance to Santa? Hoteiosho is this fat and jolly fellow's name, and he roams the land with his sack of valuable things he gives to good children. He also doesn't need a "naughty/nice" list as he sports a pair of eyes in the back of his head (so they say), and thus always knows if you're sleeping, awake, bad or good. I have no word yet on whether or not he's quoted saying "ほほほ!", but I'll let you guys know if I find out.

One thing I haven't been able to figure out yet is the significance of the white Japanese cake with strawberries. I did a brief search online and found an article that SEEMS like it would have the answer...but the sites I went to thought the article was worth enough to demand charging me to see more than the title and a paragraph or two. Balls.

I know the meaning must be recent - Christmas is super new in Japan, and so any related traditions should still be traceable. Does anybody have an idea of where it came from?

That's it for today - peace.