Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thanksgiving family

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American blogging friends and family! I heard that Leiya is spending the day with a college friend's family and I have no idea about how Takumi spends Thanksgiving. I don't think he knows how to roast a turkey.

My family has always been a small one. My father, mother, brother and myself. My mother was an only child so no relatives on her side of the family. My father had a disagreement with his only sister so I never met that side of the family. No cousins, no aunts or uncles; grandparents living in the Midwest while we lived in California.

When I was about 5, our family became good friends with a Japanese-American family and most holidays and weekends were spent with them. The fathers played chess together. The mothers went shopping together. We children played ditch and read comic books together. The other family's grandfather and my grandfather (when he was visiting) would converse in Japanese and make us Thanksgiving dinner. Rolled eel sushi... Chicken livers and water chestnuts... Pineapple and soy sauce spare ribs... And turkey. It wasn't a typical Thanksgiving dinner but I thought we were eating what everyone ate!

Until Tetsu and I moved to Nikko, our family too didn't do much to celebrate Thanksgiving. (Well, Tetsu hardly knows what the celebration is!) For one, my oven is not large enough to roast a turkey. Turkey? Where is there a turkey?! Japanese have absolutely no idea what a turkey is... not in the wild nor in the supermarket. My poor children were missing the American tradition of Thanksgiving with family!

However, as history tends to repeat itself, our Japanese-American bi-cultural family became good friends with another Japanese-American bi-cultural family, the Yamadas. The fathers did judo together. The mothers ate chocolate together. The children played video games and read comic books together. And for many, many years we celebrated Thanksgiving at Marlene's house along with other friends with US affiliations. Marlene had the big American oven and she ordered a turkey from some specialist store. One friend, who often made business trips to the States would think ahead and bring back cans of black olives and cranberry sauce. Yum! And the rest of us would pot-luck in pumpkin pies, green bean casseroles and salads.

Marlene and Kohei live in Hong Kong these days... Sigh. No more Thanksgiving dinners around here anymore... More than missing the dinners though, I miss Marlene and all the people that gravitated to the Yamada's house.

Happy Thanksgiving Marlene! I'm thinking of you!

(Oh dear... I'm posting pictures of people (and children!) without asking... But since this is from 11 years ago, do you think they'll forgive me? Tetsu isn't as gray as he is these days. And Leiya in the yellow looks nothing like she does now. Can you even spot grumpy Takumi in the one picture? He's wearing purple.) My good friends and family!

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