Thanksgiving in Osaka

As part of Osaka’s International Exchange program, we were invited to a Thanksgiving Feast, hosted by the Osaka Mayor. It was all great fun!

A few weeks ago, Nicky and I were invited to attend a Thanksgiving Party at the Osaka Mayor’s mansion by Wada-san. We accepted happily, and tonight we took the train down to meet him for the dinner. The flyer had promised turkey and gravy and pumpkin pie, so I was looking forward to not having to miss out on those American delicacies this year.

The party was relatively formal, so Nicky and I wore some of our better dresses, and, as I predicted, the only truly young people at the party were the foreigners. Nearly all of the Japanese people at the party were in their 50s and above. We even met one man who was 97 and had traveled to 100 different countries in his lifetime (I can only hope to be so awesome by the time I’m 97).

We also met a woman from the Osaka-America Association that had received San Francisco’s Key to the City a couple of decades ago. It is her most prized possession. There were some cool foreigners there too; a lot of American women who told us about hiking opportunities in the mountains of Kansai and this other woman who had managed to secure permanent work as a business coach in Japan for nearly 15 years. It made me excited to think that if I want to live here in the future, it’s completely possible.

The food was also pretty good. They had turkey and gravy and some sort of berry sauce, but the “pumpkin pie” was pretty disappointing. It was just Japanese squash on a tart pastry. But, there was cake and ice cream too, and at the end of the night, every guest received a bag of omiyage. Omiyage is a Japanese custom that involves buying small or large gifts for the sake of another person. They are often given as gifts from places a person visits, or as thank-you gifts. These omiyage bags were huge though! Every bag contained about $20 worth of Glico food and candy. It was pretty awesome. I had a lot of fun.