How Canadian and US expats celebrate Thanksgiving in Japan


On a fun side note, it was actually Labor Thanksgiving Day here in Japan today. I, however, was still working!


You’ll be happy to know that here in America, your tradition of Boxing Day has started to gain traction. We put presents under the decorated Muhammad Ali and punch each other until someone wins, and they get all the gifts.


Sometimes the subtle differences can be very confusing. I remember one year, a woman from Texas (my boss at the time) and I brought together family/friends for a joint Thanksgiving meal. In preparation she had discovered that there was a farm outside London that raised turkeys, so she ordered one and someone on her husband’s payroll took a train out there to pick it up. He shows up at their house the day before Thanksgiving (fortunately, just a regular work day there) with a barely-dead turkey, clots of dirt still clinging to the claws. Oops! Fortunately a local butcher knew what to do.

Pro-tip: there’s no Butterball hotline, either.

Learn about the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line®, which provides expert assistance for all turkey questions.


but I have one: when will the political madness in Turkey stop?


I vaguely recall a movie (with Anthony Hopkins?) about an American expat in England who was all nostalgic over Thanksgiving dinner. She described the roast turkey, cranberry relish, and all the rest. He surprised her with the best he could do: a roast chicken with strawberry jam on the side.


That was Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins playing C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy Gresham, the woman he married so she could stay in Britain. I thought of that one too.


Thank you!! My Google-fu was failing me.


ISTR that the little country guides that the US State Department issues to embassy staff sometimes have a section that talks about Thanksgiving and sources for some of the traditional fixings.


ya, after reading the link and re-reading the OP, I see that my cold-read of the quoted section gave me a false impression of the tenor of the article. my b.

EDIT: will go ahead and tag @Zadaz here, too


When i saw that “a few are Boing Boing readers who responded to a request to be interviewed,” I figured you were a lock. The sample size in the article could’ve used you, the obligatory inclusion of all 5 people’s responses even if they didn’t say much made it seem like padding.


When I saw they started with a JET list I figured it was gonna be all language monkeys but it looks like they selected some actual residents short and long term.


The less said about Croctoturkey the better


I’m in Switzerland. We too have tiny ovens. Trying to do a proper Thanksgiving dinner is an exercise in futility. I can only get one thing in the oven at a time so there is always something cold. The rolls get out of the oven when we’re half way through the meal. My non-American husband wanted to know why couldn’t have a ham too. In my frustration I screamed at him, “And bake it where?”

Most Americans celebrate the Saturday after. We already went to one Thanksgiving dinner this past Saturday and we’ll go to another on Sunday. I usually cook a small dinner for my family on the actually day, but tomorrow it will be hard as I forgot to pre-order my turkey. Whole turkeys are only sold at Christmas, unless you pre-order or have time to defrost a frozen one. I guess it will be turkey breast for us.

I’ve lived here long enough to know how to substitute Swiss ingredients for American, but even that requires advanced planning or a lot of money. Geneva has two different “American” stores, but the prices will make you wince. Advance planners bring their groceries back in their suitcase.

If only I could hop on a plane and come home.


Um, turkey is the traditional Christmas dish here, so I’m surprised she had to go to a farm to get one, especially so close to Christmas. Try Tesco next time.


Never mind Thanksgiving, what about Burns Night?


No, that’s Black-Eye Friday and it happens the Friday before Christmas. We don’t have any prizes either, except for a night in the cells and a morning visit to a magistrate.


Early 1980s?


I had turkey for Christmas as a kid throughout the 1970s, and we weren’t at all unusual in this: it was standard in Britain at that time. I confess I don’t know where my parents got it: I assume a local butcher, supermarkets not being the thing then that they are now.

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