Preparing for Christmas in Japan

This year I will be celebrating Christmas in Japan, and a few years ago I tried that “Japanese style”. In other words, eating chicken and looking at illuminations. However, although it is also nice, in my head that is not real Christmas, so this year I want to try to do it “Danish style” in Japan. However, there are some challenges in doing so – especially in relation to the food. Another thing is how to get into “Christmas mood” due to the lack of Christmas events during December, which are overflowing from the end of November and through December in Denmark.

To be able to get into a Christmassy mood despite this, I came prepared and had bought some Christmas decorations in Denmark that I brought to Japan (and my mom sent be a bit more later).

Then we also bought a plastic Christmas tree, which doesn’t look so fake, I think (they sold them in all sorts of other colors than green).

And we went to a Christmas market near the Skytree tower, which, as most Japanese christmas markets, mainly was german style foods (sausages and beer) and some illuminations (I forgot to take photos).

However, it was nice and we finished it off with climbing the Skytree and enjoying the amazing evening view. If the sky is clear, I definitely recommend you to go there if you have the chance – despite it being slightly expensive (a bit more than 150DKK to go all the way to the second observatory).

I also managed to buy some Christmas presents (cheapo version, since I cannot send too expensive things) which I have sent to Denmark! I hope they arrive in time and still in wrapped state.

Recently, I have also been looking into how to cook a Danish Christmas dinner with the ingredients available in Japan. I want to make the following dishes:

  • Roast duck (probably legs or chest depending on what I can find)
  • Rødkål (red cabbage)
  • Søde kartofler (potatoes fried in sugar)
  • Brun sauce (classical danish brown sauce)
  • Waldorfssalat
  • Risalamande

I will probably have to search a bit hard for duck legs/chest, but it should be possible to find in a large supermarket. Some things like rødkål I asked my mom to try to send here. I did find raw red cabbage in a supermarket, but preparing that from scratch along with all the other things might be a bit much. However, if the already prepared one from Denmark doesn’t arrive in time, I will try.

One thing that I did even think about might be hard to come across here was vanilla powder or pods (real beans). I looked in several supermarkets that sell a lot of foreign stuff, but I haven’t been able to find anything else than vanilla essence. If i do not find it somewhere, I will have to try with vanilla essence, but I am afraid the taste will become synthetic. Furthermore, I am a bit worried about if I can make “risengrød” for the risalamande from Japanese rice, but I will have to try. Like the danish porridge rice used for “risengrød”, the Japanese rice are short grained and therefore also become sticky, so I am hoping it will work. In relation to the Waldorf salad, I cannot get creme fraiche here, so I think I will try to substitute with Greek yogurt, which can be found in some supermarkets. As for the sauce, I am quite worried since I do not have Danish boullion and from experience I can say that the Japanese ones generally are not suited for that purpose. I will have to think about this one a bit more.

Another thing that might seem a bit strange is that I am having a hard time finding potatoes I feel are suited for the dishes I want to make here. Maybe it is just that I still haven’t got the hang of the potato types in Japan, but I think the ones I usually can find get very easily grainy and do not have a very good taste. That said, I know that it is possible to find tasty potatoes here, but for me so far it is always a gamble when I buy them in the supermarket. You definitely cannot get the small tasty new potatoes as you can in Denmark, but maybe with a bit more potato studying, I can find some I like.

Anyway, that was it for now, I will post about the results of the Christmas cooking in Japan after Christmas!




  1. Jeg havde både en kogebog på engelsk ( fra Amerika) og på dansk (fra Mariaforbndet),,,som jeg begge kunne anbefale , Hvis mor kan finde dem, må du få dem Knus, Mormor,.

    • Det lyder godt. Jeg har allerede en Frøken Jensens kogebog med som jeg fandt ved mor, men flere skader aldrig 😀

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