Japan Word of the Day #12 – Shichimencho (Turkey)

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Are you enjoying turkey dinner today?


Today’s Word is: Shichimencho (七面鳥)

Shicimencho means turkey. “Shichi” means seven, “men” means face, and “cho” means bird. Thus, its literal translation would be “seven-faced bird.” Why? The exact origin is not certain, but common belief is that it’s called shichimencho because a turkey changes its skin color from red, blue, to violet, depending on the season, giving the illusion it has multiple different faces.

Turkey is not a common dish in Japan. It doesn’t naturally grow in wild, and Japanese houses usually don’t have big enough ovens to cook a whole turkey, so there isn’t enough demand to worth stocking turkeys in stores. On Christmas Eve, it’s common to eat roasted or fried chicken in Japan instead of turkey (thanks to KFC Japan’s marketing strategy).

Have a great holiday!

Image source: Yun Free Photo

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