There were never Pilgrims that sailed on the Mayflower nor the Native Americans who helped them adapt to a new land in Japan. Thanksgiving is not a holiday here. That doesn’t mean that Americans living in Japan aren’t going to eat turkey! We did still manage to celebrate the day. On the fourth Thursday in November we gathered in Tokyo with fellow American A/G missionaries for a Turkey dinner. It was a great time to relax, hear what others are doing, and, of course, eat! Getting together with fellow missionaries made being away from family during the holiday a little easier.
On the way home we stopped at Costco (yes there is a Costco in Japan!) and picked up 3 frozen turkeys and other supplies for our church’s upcoming pot luck. We got there 20 minutes before closing. I raced around the huge warehouse like I was on one of those grocery store game shows, flinging food into the cart! Thankfully, we managed to pick up all the necessary food before the store closed.
Today, the Sunday after thanksgiving, we had a Thanksgiving themed potluck at church. We were excited to see many guests, including several students and faculty from the University, joined us to taste the special American food. For some of these guest this was one of the only times they had ever stepped inside a church. We took time to reflect on what we were thankful for and enjoyed a worship service. After service a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings was served. Some international additions to the traditional feast were included thanks to our multinational congregation.
In between these events we even did other typical American things. I did some “black Friday” shopping on-line for Christmas gifts for family members in the USA. I got the added bonus of early bird discounts without even having to get up early as our time is 14 hrs ahead of Eastern Standard time!
We also set up our Christmas tree that we brought with us when we moved to Japan as it is our tradition to put it up on the day after Thanksgiving. Now that Thanksgiving is past, we are looking forward and planning for ways to reach out to the University students this Christmas.