Two years ago I spent Christmas Eve walking around in Fukuoka, a surprisingly hip urban center given its distance from Tokyo, watching couples shop, pick up KFC (another Christmas tradition – if you don’t have a reservation already, no chicken for you), and then get a cake before heading home. It was sweet: there was a lot more handholding than usual.
The cakes come in two varieties – chocolate or strawberry. I’m not sure if that’s the reason or not, but I’ve run into the strawberry kanji a couple times recently. It’s cool – the radical for grass on top with mother underneath.
Ha. I just looked it up in Kōjien to see if it mentions anything about the origin of the kanji (wrong dictionary, eh?) and found this: 温室栽培では年末出荷が主. End of story – in Japan, strawberries = Christmas.