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How a White Lie Gave Japan KFC for Christmas

Christmas in Japan is a relatively new phenomenon, and it is celebrated with the traditions of a romantic date, a strawberry cake, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's traditional. KFC for Christmas seems weird to us, but it's been that way since the 1970s, and the chain makes a big chunk of its yearly sales during Christmas. The company has long explained it as American expats looking for a substitute for turkey for the holiday, but we assumed that they just told Japanese customers that fried chicken was a traditional American Christmas food. But it turns out that it wasn't the company that did it. It wasn't even an American. It was a franchisee named Takeshi Okawara, who opened Japan's first KFC outlet. His store in Nagoya didn't go over well, and Okawara had to take side jobs, like playing Santa Claus. It was that job that inspired the lie.

Okawara promoted fried chicken as a substitute for traditional Christmas turkey, which the Japanese knew from TV and cinema was eaten for Christmas throughout the West. Selling chicken and sides together in Christmas-themed “Party Barrels” and decorating his store’s Colonel Sanders statue as Santa-san brought in enough customers to save his business.

With word of the Christmas “Party Barrels” making their way across Japan, the national broadcaster NHK interviewed Okawara about his role in bringing the Colonel to Japan and asked if KFC for Christmas was a common custom overseas. Unable to turn down such a glaring opportunity, the young entrepreneur said yes. “I still regret that, but people liked it because it was something good [they thought came] from the U.S. or European countries,” he told Household Name.

Read the story of how Christmas in Japan came to include Kentucky Fried Chicken at Atlas Obscura.


The Funniest Local News Bloopers of 2019

Yeah, it's easy to mess up a word or two when you're live on air, but it's hard to just correct and go on when the entire studio is laughing at you. This is a long video, but you don't have to watch it all at once. Unless you want to spend 15 minutes giggling.  -via Digg


What Are These Heavy Rubber Handles For?

You might have seen this heavy rubber handles before, but you might not have taken notice of them. Called FatGripz, you can use these handles to wrap around barbells and dumbells.

Their main job is to make the bar harder to hold onto, which can be a good thing.
(Fat Gripz is one popular brand, but it’s often used as a name for the whole category of object. There are multiple sizes of Fat Gripz, plus other brands, like Alpha grips.)

But what are they really for? They are for when you want to give your gripping muscles an extra challenge.

It’s harder to grip something wide than something narrow. If you’re lifting a normal sized barbell or dumbbell, your fingers and thumb wrap around it. But if you’re lifting something bigger, you need to squeeze with your hand just to be able to hold on. That requires your hand and forearm muscles to work harder.

I believe I can handle lifting them up… Without the dumbbells, of course.

(Image Credit: Fat Gripz/ Instagram)

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