As hard as it is to believe, it's already approaching Christmas time again, and, in Sweden, the 11th annual Santa of the Year competition just took place. This year, the title was awarded to a Japanese man, making him the first Asian in history to be recognized as the top Santa in the world.

So it's official. Santa Claus, for this year anyway, is Japanese. Kouhei Yamashita, a jolly 250 pound 35 year old from Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan, beat out Santas from all over the world in Swedish Lapland, home of Father Christmas, to be crowned the official Santa of the Year for 2014. Kouhei placed first in three out of the four competitions, which included a Santa triathlon, milk candy eating, present piling, and reindeer rodeo machine riding. Because of his dominating performance at the Santa Winter Games, Kouhei, within a matter of a few days, became the most recognizable Japanese face in all of Sweden. Walking down the street after the competition, children would recognize him, shouting out, "It's Santa Yamashita!" Meanwhile, back home in Japan, Kouhei was all over the evening news.

Being Santa of the Year is a pretty big deal. And for the first time ever, he's from Japan. For Christmas Eve this year, maybe instead of leaving out milk and cookies for Santa, I should tell my little niece and nephew to leave out some seaweed rice crackers and a cup of green tea.

The best in the world have come to Sweden...

for some intense competition...

and only one winner. Yamashita Santa!