(upbeat music) – Baking is my communication
tool with American people. I’m not so good speak English, but I can make a good dessert. So during the holiday, I’m always making a Japanese Christmas shortcake. – I’m Nico Tortorella. I’m an actor, an activist and a firm believer that our differences actually make us stronger. I’m on a journey with
IKEA to meet real people and discover the diverse
and spectacular ways they celebrate the holidays. Maybe you celebrate Christmas
with milk and cookies and a Christmas ham. Or maybe you celebrate it
with fried chicken and cake like Portland resident Mio Asaka. – My name is Mio Asaka. I’m a baker and owner
of Mio’s Delectables. – Mio runs a mini Japanese bakery right out of her own home and sells her goods at the
Portland Farmers’ Market. Mio has this real passion for baking and sharing the traditions
that she brought from Japan. Her specialty: the
Japanese Christmas cake. (angelic choir) Mmm. (playful music) We should probably go
get some strawberries for this cake, huh? – [Mio] Yeah, yeah. – Wow, hi. How are you? Mio’s Delectables isn’t
just a business for Mio. It’s a way for her to share her traditions and culture with other people and to really bring people together, especially during the holidays. (knocking on door) Hi! How are you? Good to see you. – Good to see you. Welcome. Come in. – I come bearing gifts.
– Oh, wow. My Christmas tree is like this size tree, but I always decoration. You have to enjoy that. – This is your son here? – [Mio] Yes.
– [Nico] Willie? – William.
– William. I admire Mio for being a single mother who works hard to create a warm, inviting and loving home for her family. Ta-da! Japanese Christmas is pretty unique. For a while, it was a really
romantic holiday in Japan, kind of like Valentine’s
Day in the United States. – [All] Romance. – Fried chicken is really popular. – [All] Karaage. – And dessert—Christmas cake, especially— is a focal point for Japanese Christmas. – [Mio] When I came to the
U.S., I didn’t know that this country not familiar
with Japanese style type of cake, so I explained this cake is a very soft and not too sweet. Now it is very popular. – This looks so beautiful. Japanese Christmas cake originated in post-World War II Japan. Middle-class citizens
finally had access to sugar and other ingredients that had once been considered exclusive. And from this, the tradition was born. All right, it’s time to eat. – [Mio] Japanese Christmas
is an important day. We eat a big dinner with our family. It’s very much like the U.S.,
but we eat sushi and karaage. – [Nico] Do you have any
traditions before a Christmas meal? – We say (speaking Japanese.) Bon appetit.
– Bon appetit. – (speaking Japanese) – (speaking Japanese) (gentle music) – Mio is pretty inspiring. She truly embodies the
tradition represented by something as simple as a cake. Japanese Christmas cake
is a symbol for prosperity and growth, qualities that Mio really brings to life every
time she bakes this cake for her friends and family. – (singing in Japanese) – There you have it, folks. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.