Happy (Labor) Thanksgiving?

For the most part, I am really loving this expat life here in Tokyo… the adventure, the travel, and the new experiences. We have done a lot, seen a lot, and learned a lot in these past (almost) two years. This has been — and continues to be — one of the greatest experiences of our lives. But… it can have its difficulties.

This week is Thanksgiving week back home, and everyone there is in the midst of holiday preparations and planning for the family get-together on Thursday. I see photos of food and table decorations, I hear of travel plans and parties… and we will be missing all of that this year.

I am not asking for pity… I knew what I signed up for when we came here. It is a trade-off, and you have to take a bit of the bad with the good. We may not have our big Thanksgiving cooking/eating/food fest, and we won’t be physically together with our family, but we will have our virtual get-togethers via the internet. I can’t cook a turkey here… or even a pumpkin pie (no oven!), but we will manage, and will have a nice meal anyway (sushi, anyone???)

Japan has “Labor Thanksgiving Day” every year on November 23rd. This year, that holiday happens to coincide with the US Thanksgiving Day, so my husband will actually have a day off from work. Here, it is a national holiday commemorating labor and production, and giving thanks to workers.

The Japanese are interested in US holidays and customs, and there are many restaurants that advertise “traditional Thanksgiving dinners” with all the “fixings”, and other places that will prepare the holiday meal for take-out to serve at home with friends and family. Most of these places are in the areas that are more highly populated with US expats… Roppongi, Akasaka, and other areas around the US Embassy. The big chain restaurants from the US — like Hard Rock Cafe — will also have Thanksgiving menus that day.

It will be a nice holiday here, but not the same as at home — no blazing fireplace, no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or football games (!) on the TV. But, it will be nice none-the-less. We will think of our family and friends back home, and be… thankful! We will miss you all. But know that you are with us in our hearts and minds.

Oh… and, by the way… I know that the blog is titled “Two Years in Japan” and we are nearing the end of two years here, but we have been officially extended to three years. So… keep reading. More blogs to come…

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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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