Cool Kanji – 苺

Merry Christmas! No, not Eve. Christmas. In Japan, things go down on the 24th, and often people have no idea that the 25th is actually Christmas Day. The festivities here are more like Valentine’s Day in the US with lights and illuminations and whatnot.

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.