Before arriving in Japan we knew that–obviously–American holidays would not be recognized by the kids’ international school calendar. Somehow none of us really made the next leap to realize that this means that the kids actually go to school on Thanksgiving. Because here it’s just, you know, Thursday.
Most Americans in Japan work for Japanese companies, which means that American Thanksgiving is a regular work day for them. As a result most Americans enjoy their Thanksgiving dinners on either Friday or Saturday. We may do the same ourselves in future years, but since it’s our first Thanksgiving here we decided to celebrate on Thursday itself. Mark had the day off since his job follows U.S. holidays, and two adults at home and no kids underfoot meant plenty of time to get our feast ready.
Thanks to the commissary, grocery shopping for our dinner involved simply driving to base and picking up what we needed there. For Americans without such perks, the gathering of Thanksgiving groceries requires a little more research, networking, and overpaying at expat-gouging specialty stores. Also the hoarding of cans of pumpkin pie filling.
We celebrated our meal with our friends and neighbors, The Hobbs family. Ashley, Derek, and their three children live one house over from us, and their kids and ours became fast friends as soon as we moved in. So celebrating Thanksgiving together was an obvious choice. Also Ashley and Derek have a standard U.S.-sized oven in their home–one that actually fits my roasting pan!
So I conquered the turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, succotash, apple pie and pumpkin pie; Ashley prepared green beans, corn, rolls, mashed potatoes, brownies, Rice Krispie treats, and banana bread. I roasted the turkey in their oven, then brought it back to our house to finish up the gravy and the last few items. Then we ate. And ate. And even posed for a picture!
Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours!