Thanksgiving: the most American of all American holidays (well…except for maybe the 4th of July). This holiday has always been one of the year’s most special for me. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and my extended family gathers from all around the country at my grandma’s house.
This is the first year I can remember not going, and it feels strange.
I Skyped with my family this morning (Thanksgiving night their time) and got to talk to everyone, but just talking to them from afar made me truly homesick for the first time. Even after 5 months here, I hadn’t felt truly homesick until I saw for myself all my family gathered without me.
And quite frankly, there was nothing I could do about that.
However, there was something I can do.
I have no way to eat my dad’s turkey or my mom’s pie, but with a bit of digging, I can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast of my own here in Nagoya.
Thanksgiving meal #1
Finding turkey in Japan is nearly impossible. This is a fact. Therefore, when you find some, jump on the opportunity. Nagoya has an American sports bar called Shooters and needless today, I thrilled to learn they were serving a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend.
The Friday after Thanksgiving (the dreaded Black Friday in America), my friend from school and I headed over there for dinner. What an experience. We started off the whole meal with all-American drinks: MILKSHAKES.
And I’m not talking about weak milkshakes with artificial flavors. This was a real milkshake. And I got a chocolate one.
Then came dinner. It was a set menu with turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, roast vegetables, and a hot roll. It was delightful. The one gripe I have was the stuffing: it had nuts in it and I am not a big fan, but I ate most of it anyway.
It was a fantastic meal and to top it all off we ordered pumpkin pie for dessert. There was a problem, however. My friend and I both ordered pumpkin pie, but there was only ONE SLICE LEFT.
There was one slice left in the whole store. We decided to split it and it was totally worth it. It was delicious. Expensive and oh so delicious.
But the fun won’t stop there.
Thanksgiving meal #2
Tomorrow (Saturday) I am planning on making a Thanksgiving dinner for my host family from scratch. It will be an experience for everyone.
What’s on the menu?
Chicken drumsticks (no turkey, no whole chickens)
Mashed kabocha (pumpkin)
There might be some challenges, including making stuffing for the first time, using dried cranberries instead of fresh or frozen ones (Japan has no fresh ones), and dealing with my decision not to make a pumpkin pie.
Only after tomorrow will I know whether I am capable or not of producing this meal by myself. I’ll update you on how it goes.
All I know is that I am thankful that I can even make this in the first place and that even though I am far away from my family for this holiday I am still so blessed to be studying abroad in Japan.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. What are you thankful for?