「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら



By Mike Dwane


Merry Christmas, dear readers. My gift to you this year is a perfectly useless addition to your vocabulary.

If you already know what a "turducken" is, it's time to learn a new language. But if you don't, a turducken is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. It is a vile chimera that tastes worse than it sounds and something my mother is threatening to cook for Christmas dinner.

A turducken, as you may also have noticed, is an example of a portmanteau word, a word formed by the fusion of two or more others. Common examples are workaholic (work and alcoholic) for somebody who works too much; spork for a half-spoon, half-fork; or camcorder (camera and recorder). There are hundreds of others ... but back to Christmas and to the turducken (turkey, duck and chicken).

In the West, Christmas is the most important time of year for families to get together. I have three sisters, two of whom live abroad, and December 25th is the only day of the year -- apart from weddings and funerals --we all get to see one another at my parents' house.

Government agencies close down for two weeks around Christmas. So do a lot of private companies.

Unfortunately, I work for a newspaper and usually get just one or two days off. Christmas is not something I look forward to any more. While others are exchanging presents or going to the pub, I am stuck in the newsroom trying to contact government offices which aren't open!

But I still get Christmas Day off, which means I can still look forward to the traditional Christmas food, right?

Wrong. I hate mince pies and turn my nose up at mulled wine. And I hope none of you have ever had the misfortune to try Christmas pudding. A Christmas pudding is a stodgy, indigestible lump of dried fruit, nuts and animal fats topped with a sickly sprinkling of icing sugar. It also contains enough alcohol (Guinness, whiskey, brandy and rum) to keep a crew of sailors happy for a week. It is usually set alight when being brought to the table but that's where the fun ends.

One traditional Christmas dish I do look forward to is roast turkey and ham with cranberry sauce and glazed vegetables. Turkey I particularly like stuffed with onions, garlic, sausage meat and herbs.

But not this year, as mother seems determined to depart from tradition and instead stuff the big bird with a duck and then a chicken, which doesn't leave much room for anything else.

I have tried convincing her that it will be impossible to get the chicken just right without overcooking the duck and leaving the turkey underdone but she is not listening.

Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!



The Japan Times ST: December 20, 2013

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版