" She just turned 26. She's a Christmas cake now." ....
To me it seems ironic, that in Japan, a country where Christmas is not really celebrated, that the term "Christmas cake" could become such an anti-feminist expression in the 1980's . In Japan it has become a tradition to eat Christmas cake on Christmas Eve, but the Christmas cakes are highly decorated sponge cakes with lots of whipped cream and fresh fruit. These cakes are very popular and expensive and are usually ordered weeks in advance, but they have a short shelf life and do not last after Christmas Day.
While the use of " christmas cake " to describe unmarried 26 year old women is not commonly used in Japan any more such statements as " She married her husband at 30, so you know he wasn't bothered that she was Christmas cake!" can still be heard and indicate that the traditional ideas of women's status based on Confucianism and the feudal law of the samurai are still given some credence. However, as the age of women when they marry increases, the usage of "Christmas Cake" in the future will have no significance.
Tomorrow - another Jpaanese connection with Christmas Cake.