Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving memories

Happy Thanksgiving for all of you in America! I hope you are enjoying your feasts and family!

As for us in Japan, the day went by as normal. School, classes, dinner was fish and miso soup and rice. But remember, I had my Thanksgiving dinner last week so I'm not complaining!

Last night I showed pictures of the Thanksgiving we had at Marlene's house to my English kids and I told them a little history about why American's celebrate Thanksgiving. I figured they should see what some of the delicacies are so I flashed my Thanksgiving pictures onto the computer screen. I got the most oohs and ahhs over the sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows on top.

"Marshmallows on sweet potato? Strange!"

And then I showed them the picture of the turkey and one little boy froze and covered his head and wouldn't look at my pictures any more. Brought back memories.

Years ago, during the summers, our family was a host family for Japanese Jr. high school students. While the students were with us we tried to show them American holidays and put on a mock Christmas (used the pine tree in the yard... outdoor Christmas festivities) and Thanksgiving! Another two families got involved and we went all out to show the little Japanese girls what an American Thanksgiving was all about. The turkey was roasted, the stuffing made, cranberry jelly was found in July. Pumpkin pies, gravy, sweet potatoes and marshmallows. The whole shebang! Nothing was spared for our Japanese students. And with great aplomb we brought our little Japanese girl into the dining room, eyes closed, where the table was loaded down with food.

"Ta-da! Happy Thanksgiving!"

Whereupon the girl took one look at the table and burst into tears and went running to another room. It was the shock of seeing that big old roasted turkey just sitting there on the table! Of course trying to figure out what was wrong was a bit difficult (language barrier) and the girl was sobbing and fairly inconsolable. So our out-of-season Thanksgiving dinner flopped and the girl ate jello on the porch instead of turkey and all the other good stuff. I suppose the rest of us enjoyed it but I only remember the strange reaction of the girl seeing that turkey.

I guess the little boy had a similar reaction to seeing my turkey pictures last night. Japanese are not used to seeing whole roasted anything and consider it sort of barbarian.

Of course I have the same reaction when I see raw fish set out on the still gasping fish. It is all about culture and what is considered barbaric and what is considered a delicacy.

I'll have the turkey dinner thank you.

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