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I spent nearly 20 years in Japan. 

My uncle Sam sent me to Japan back at the height of the Cold War. I have some stories I will share about that experience in due time.

Now I am married to Sam. Not my uncle. My wife goes by the name Sam, Samantha or Sammie. Nobody knows how to say her real name – Xiangtao. I digressed.

KFC Rules in Japan at Christmas Time

Japan was my favorite place to celebrate Christmas for the simple reason that Japan doesn’t really celebrate Christmas. It’s just another day at the office and Christmas Cake in the evening after enjoying KFC. Yeah, KFC the chicken maker. KFC sells more chicken at Christmas time than they do the rest of the year. Christmas season in Japan is kind of like Black Friday and Cyber Monday for KFC. I digressed again.

After leaving the Navy I settled in Japan and stayed for nearly 20 years total. I created a language school – an after school school to learn English.

Over time, the school grew and I started hiring teachers from the US to come work for me.

I Was a Lousy Boss

Every teacher from the US who joined my company outright refused to teach on Christmas Day. No kidding. I was a lousy boss. I didn’t force them.

What happened was I taught every class we offered, every Christmas, every year. 

One hundred percent of the time our classes deviated from the scheduled class. Students asked, “How do American’s celebrate Christmas? And what is the real meaning of Christmas?”

Every year I got to tell our students how we in the US celebrate this season. Better than that, I got to tell them the REAL Christmas story. You know Immanuel – God with us. Unto us a Child is born. That last sentence is impossible to say without singing. 

People actually lined up and paid me to tell them my favorite story. Who would have thought? 

No presents exchanged. No obligated giving. And … we decided not to charge for the lessons that day, too.

A Standout Memory

I remember one time I was teaching the class and there was an economics professor there. He interrupted me, “I can think of a lot of ways for women to get pregnant, but by a holy ghost? No way!”

I loved the honesty.

Christmas in Japan was my favorite time of the year. I loved to tell the Story. 

There I go again … singing.

Final thoughts:

 I deeply appreciate having you as part of the Growing Up Wilby world.

Thank you for following along as I find my feet, share stores and grow. 

I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

Hit reply and tell me what countries besides your own that you have celebrated Japan in.



Parashu Shalgar

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Growing Up Aimi Series