How I managed a homemade Thanksgiving in Japan!

Main Food Station

In my previous blog I showed you all a Thanksgiving event put on by the Japan-America Society of Osaka. While a great time, it was still one week before traditional Thanksgiving. As such, Lexi and I and many of our friends here in Nara decided to do a potluck, homemade, impromptu Thanksgiving in my rural village town.

We dubbed it Goonsgiving after the region of Nara we happen to live in, Yoshino-gun.2014-11-29 17.14.39Over twenty people came from around Japan and brought all kinds of food. I’m talking Macaroni & Cheese, homemade bourbon balls, homemade pulled pork & barbeque sauce, deviled eggs, various versions of Shepard’s Pies, and much more.

However, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without Turkey and we managed to find a few turkeys, cook them, and serve them up for ourselves and the few Japanese and non-American attendees who haven’t experienced Thanksgiving.20141129_164814How did we manage this? Well, first off Lexi bought the Turkey 1 week in advance by driving three hours up to Kyoto and hitting up that holy grail of grocery shopping that many of us know as Costco. That’s right Costco is in Japan and we took advantage of that. the day finally came, however, the Turkey and a lot of other food had to be prepared in my village. For most people, I’m at least 2 hours by car, so we had to find a way to accommodate 20 or so people cooking at the same time. I mean, there is no way they could do that in my dorm room of an apartment. Luckily my school helped me out and let us use the home economics room. Talk about a godsend!

For hours, at least a dozen stove tops and ovens, plus more foreigners than this village has seen in a long time, slaved away to prepare a literal feast for Thanksgiving dinner.

For many of us, this was the first time cooking a turkey let alone carving one. Luckily, we all live in the 21st Century and can carve it piece by piece while watching a Youtube “How To…” video.The results couldn’t have been better! Here’s a play by play on our gloriously prepared turkey! I take no credit for it at all.

When the time finally came, we all gathered to say grace real then dug in. Now, like I said before, my house is basically a small studio-like dorm room. As a result, there was no central location for food. Instead there were food stations spread throughout the kitchen, on top of dressers, and even my living room desk.

Oh, and remember that turkey we prepared, well somebody else brought a turkey as well, but alas there was no where to safely carve it. So, naturally we took advantage of the one spot with no people in it…the bathroom. Classic!

20141129_173259However, don’t presume that our meal was just turkey, turkey, and turkey. There are quite a few vegetarians or vegans in Nara who obviously couldn’t partake in the meat dishes. Instead, they prepared some amazing vegan shepard pie dishes, veggie dishes, and even vegan pumpkin bread. That’s right, you can do that over here. There’s hope for you aspiring vegetarian JETs!

Anyways, for the rest of the night we ate, we drank, and man were we merry. Every now and then a few car fulls of people would head out back to their homes but the majority of people remained for a good ol fashioned goon spoon, 15 or so people crammed into one room.

This is probably my favorite Thanksgiving in memory due to the food, the company, the partying afterwards, and the constant streaming of youtube Epic Meal Time videos and 90s/early 2000s music videos.

Oh, and did I mention the awesome Cocoa/Apple Jello Shots made by one of our great Nara JETs?

It is going to be real hard to beat this Thanksgiving. I can’t wait. Hopefully everyone’s Thanksgiving was just as great. Let me know what crazy things happened with you and I’ll see you in my next blog post!

P.S. If you haven’t seen Epic Meal Time’s Thanksgiving episode featuring the TurBaconEpic…watch it. Watch it now.

Categories: Japan, JET, Nara Prefecture, Totsukawa - muraTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Dude keep the posts coming these are fantastic! Also Cocoa/Apple Jello Shots sound amazing how may I ask are those created? A recipe perhaps? 🙂 keep up the posts though its good to see you and Lexi are having a blast!

    Liked by 1 person

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