Thanksgiving in Japan

A coupon for Black Friday at an Aeon Mall

Suffice it to say, there is no Thanksgiving in Japan. Not many here know when it even is, and that makes sense to me . Japan already has two opportunities in the year to get together with relatives – in August during the Obon season where you remember the departed, and then over the New Year, where you bring in the New Year surrounded by loved ones. I don’t think Japan is looking for more holidays to get together with family.

However, there is Black Friday. Much like Japan seems to have taken Christmas and turned it into a mixture of commercialism and Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving has turned into an opportunity for sales.

Most amusing to me, I think, is that Black Friday starts anytime in mid-November here, well before Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if many here even know why it’s called Black Friday or why it’s happening in November.

The sales are nice, but I feel rather alone pressing on with trying to keep the tradition of getting together with family and eating a nice meal alive when everyone else is just going about their day. (I personally am not a fan of Thanksgiving’s history, but I do like the idea of having an excuse to get together with family, eat a lot and talk about what you’re thankful for.)

Turkey simply can’t be found in Japan, as far as I’ve ever looked. Even if I could find a whole turkey to cook, the thing wouldn’t fit into my microwave oven. I’m not a huge fan of dried-out turkey anyway. Thus, I’m going to make a chicken dish. I made homemade apple cider since they don’t sell that in Japan either, and I made a pumpkin pie using Japan’s fantastic kabocha squash. I’m also hoping to make some coleslaw at some point today.

I’m hoping we can eat a nice, fake Thanksgiving dinner while talking about what we’re thankful for. Maybe I can mail some of the leftover pumpkin pie to some relatives who live relatively nearby.