Gluttony-Free Thanksgiving


Today was Thanksgiving. It is an American holiday, so there is no standard celebration of it here. I spent most of the day doing housecleaning and prep for classes and pretty much forgot to eat. I had a couple of mikan (みかん) and some vitamin C charged lemon tea, but otherwise not much. About 5:45pm I got a call inviting me to a 6pm dinner at one of our local ramen shops. Fortunately, all my evening classes canceled and I jumped at the chance.

I ordered a ramen made with soba noodles (特製中華そば) and pork. It also had a boiled egg (ゆで卵), seaweed (海苔), and some yuzu (柚子) in it. We split some kimchee (キムチ) three ways and ate some gyoza (餃子) as well. It was fairly light fare for a holiday that is so tied to stuffing. Later we stopped at a watering hole for a couple drinks and ate kabocha (南瓜) and ginnan (銀杏). Yuzu is a kind of citron, kimchee is Korean-style spicy pickled cabbage, gyoza are Chinese dumplings, kabocha is a sweet squash (ignore the dictionaries that say it is pumpkin), and ginnan are the nuts of the ginko tree.

This reminded me of a Thanksgiving in 1990 or 1991. I was working on a project somewhere in Japan – probably Chiba – and something had gone wrong. Instead of returning home in mid-November I stayed on to take care of the problem. I was working long hours and when I finished working, late on Thanksgiving, there weren’t many restaurants open. I grabbed a gyudon (牛丼), which is a bowl of rice with beef on top. It seemed like a sad way to spend the holiday, but it was good to be employed, solving problems, eating anything, and an important colleague joined me; so, there was much to be thankful for.

Tonight’s highlight was that my fellow teachers asked me to say grace. It is a rare occurrence, so it pleased me. I kept it short and sweet. May all of you find much in your lives worthy of thanks. And may you remember to give it.


6 Responses to “Gluttony-Free Thanksgiving”

  1. Dorothy W. Says:

    Good reminders here! You can stay true to the spirit of Thanksgiving without celebrating it in any traditional way.

  2. verbivore Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! It’s my lunch hour here and you’ve inspired me to quick fix myself some udon – oishiiiiiiiii

  3. Stefanie Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving!

  4. びっくり Says:

    Today was fun, too. I got to ride a horse. It was my first time with English stirrups. Then we went into the countryside where I spent the evening with four generations of beautiful women. While the 24 year old fourth generation lady, who is an agricultural science graduate student and equestrian team coach, is pretty special; I think I enjoy the 100 year old first generation lady the most. Seeing her teaches me a lot about living. All of them are still full of life, but they did make me uproot the daikon for our dinner.

  5. Smithereens Says:

    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! Makes me wish for soba too… yum

  6. びっくり Says:

    Smithereens, thanks for the comment. It is never too late to wish someone a happy T-Day. We need to be thankful everyday; there is so much good in our lives. Soba is, naturally, high on that list.

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