Colonel Santa

The day after Halloween, I knew it was a bad sign when I heard music in my local supermarket that sounded suspiciously like “The First Noel,” but when I spotted The Colonel duded up in his Santa suit today, Season Creep was confirmed.

Without Thanksgiving as a sort of cultural moat between Halloween and Christmas, Japanese retailers start decorating early and often. Here Christmas Eve is second only to Valentine’s Day as the most romantic “date” holiday of the year, while New Year’s is the serious “family” holiday. And KFC has so thoroughly convinced Japanese consumers that foreigners traditionally eat fried chicken at Christmastime, that on December 24th, lines stretch around the block to pick up the buckets of Extra Crispy ordered weeks in advance.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more