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Thanksgiving in Koga-shi

December 12, 2012

Though Christmas is just around the corner and Thanksgiving is now only an event in recent memory I thought I’d share a bit of how we celebrated the holiday here in Koga!

Everything began in October, when Jess and I were sitting in Room’z (see previous post to learn more!) chatting with Yukari-san, one of the owners. We were discussing Halloween, when one of us mentioned that as soon as Halloween finished we’d have to look immediately into planning Thanksgiving. That prompted explaining to Yukari-san which holiday we were talking about, and somehow the topic of conversation turned to the location of where we ALTs would get together. Jess and I agreed that our apartments would be way too small to host such a gathering, especially since we wouldn’t have a place to put all of the food. Yukari-san was silent for a moment, before saying, “Well, why don’t you have it here?”

There was silence for a split second before we ventured to ask, “Would that really be okay?” Yukari-san told us that it would be no problem, grabbed her calendar, and wrote on November 22nd that we would be holding Thanksgiving at the café.

As we transitioned into November the agreement evolved into that the café would close early on the 22nd so that we could use the space for our dinner. Additionally, in lieu of a room rental fee we would purchase our drinks, salads, and some desserts through the café. It was a pretty awesome deal, if you ask me. Jess and I made sure to stress every week leading up to Thanksgiving that Yukari-san and her family were more than welcome to sit down and eat with us.

With a venue found, next came organizing food and transportation. Carpooling was the best way to get everyone there, and with the powers of Facebook everybody knew what everyone else planned on bringing. We thought it would be neat to have people bring what their families traditionally ate on Thanksgiving, so we had quite the spread. Our menu was:

~ Rotisserie chicken (Costco was out of turkey, so we got three)
~ Mashed potatoes
~ Gravy
~ Stuffing
~ White Rice
~ Wild Rice (My first contribution. I fibbed, because I just really wanted to eat it.)
~ Corn
~ Ratatouille
~ Spam sushi (often eaten in Hawaii, or so we were told by Stacey and Lauren)
~ Green beans sautéed with onions and bacon
~ KFC (one ALT insists that he can’t cook, so this was what he brought)
~ Baked macaroni and cheese
~ Chicken
~ No-bake pumpkin pie (My second contribution)

The day of Thanksgiving, I still had school so it was a mad dash home afterward to make the wild rice (Thanks again Dad, for shipping it!) and make sure everything else was in order. I volunteered to be one of the carpool drivers, so I drove around to pick up a few people and their food offerings before heading to Room’z. In total we had 12 people (not including Yukari-san and her family) present at dinner, hailing from various parts of America, Canada, and Japan. We began dinner by going around the table and saying what we were all thankful for. As clichéd as it sounds, the night was filled with food, fun, and laughter. Before we all went home, we posed for a group picture.

Group photo! Photo taken by Toshio-san on Jess's camera. Photo swiped from Jess's blog.

Group photo! Photo taken by Toshio-san on Jess’s camera and swiped from Jess’s blog.

Speaking as one of the main organizers, I am certain that my goal of making sure people weren’t too homesick on Thanksgiving was fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who helped make the evening such a success! It honestly wouldn’t have been the same if even one person was missing.

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