Thanksgiving Awesomeness!

Mmm foooooooood.

Mmm foooooooood.

Well.  Thanksgiving came and went. 

And it was friggin’ great.

Thanksgiving in a country that is not America or Canada is… an effort.  First of all, being as we’re not on North America, turkeys are pretty hard to come by.  Secondly, being in an Asian country where baking is not a primary mode of food preparation makes pretty much every Thanksgiving food difficult to make without the proper equipment.  So it took some coordination (mostly on Yuka’s part, all props to her for that), but we managed to pull together a pretty rockin’ Thanksgiving with some delicious food and excellent people.  I also got a visit from my new friend Jacqui (a Shimabara ALT) through a very random happenstance (I love facebook) which made the weekend just that much better.

So on Friday, before Friday Night Curry, Yuka and I went shopping.  I think I bought around $100 worth of random groceries, cooking supplies, the works.  This is not including the previous $120-ish I spent on Costco’s online website for the Turkey and other necessary items that cannot be got on Iki.  Both Yuka and I were buzzing with things to do, plans, and excitement.  I love to cook.  I love to eat.  And I love being with friends.  It was bound to be awesome.

So on Saturday, running late (…), I transported my entire kitchen to Iki High School for use of their excellent kitchens.  What we weren’t counting on, though, was a crowd of about twenty or thirty mothers making lunch for their hard-studying students.  So we had an audience the whole day.  Then as soon as I set everything up, I left to pick up Jacqui from the ferry, returned (with a few missing kitchen items), and went to work!

The total food list we ended up making is as follows: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, expert gravy, and garlic mashed potatoes.  Two of our Asian guests also brought extra food.  So we were pretty set.

Because of the audience, making the dinner ended up like a cooking show.  This gives me a great idea for my future career if the foreign service doesn’t work out… but anyway…

Our audience watches with rapt attention as I make the stuffing.

Our audience watches with rapt attention as I make the stuffing.

Yes, we had ovens--but small ones!  The turkey only just fit.

Yes, we had ovens--but small ones! The turkey only just fit.

All the high school students watch as I make green bean casserole.

All the high school students watch as I make green bean casserole.

It took about four hours to put everything together, the first three of which I was running around like a crazy person not realizing that Jacqui was practically starving.  But everything worked out pretty ok in the end.  Still not completely satisfied with the cheesecake, but most people said it was delicious, so I guess it’s good, if not up to my usual standards.  🙂

Once we finished cooking, cleaning, and re-packaging, it was back to the car to cart everything to my house.  A pretty intense undertaking considering that 1) my car is small, and 2) Iki has very curvy, up-and-downy streets.  Somehow we made it back without incident, though, and Thanksgiving was underway!

Absolutely oishii pumpkin pie--and I somehow found whipped cream, too.

Absolutely oishii pumpkin pie--and I somehow found whipped cream, too.

Yoko trying her first bite of pumpkin pie.

Yoko trying her first bite of pumpkin pie.

Well, after several hours of this and some very frightening Polish cartoons on the Cartoon Network, I went to bed so Jacqui and I could do some blitz-tourism the following day before she had to take the ferry back to Fukuoka.

Luckily, although Saturday was a blustery, freezing day, Sunday turned out beautiful!  Great sun, great clouds, not very windy at all–perfect for being an Iki tourist.  I also got to visit the Monkey Shrine (finally found where it is!  Now I can go back and finish the list), which was absolutely excellent.  Second favorite shrine on Iki now. 

And, in a second random happenstance, Jacqui and I both wore our Harry Potter track jackets bought from Hot Topic.  We were like very not-identical twins! 

Jacqui hearing no evil.

Jacqui hearing no evil.

Look Ma, a monkey!

Look Ma, a monkey!

A collection of the statues at the monkey shrine.

A collection of the statues at the monkey shrine.

They had several of these monkey family statues and I love love loved them.

They had several of these monkey family statues and I love love loved them.

The way the plant grew around this statue is friggin amazing.

The way the plant grew around this statue is friggin amazing.

How long until the spider eats the bug, do you think?

How long until the spider eats the bug, do you think?

Iki Praying Mantises are so darn cool.

Iki Praying Mantises are so darn cool.

 The other really cool thing about the Monkey Shrine is that it’s at the top of “Mount” Ondake, the highest point on Iki.  This meant a really gorgeous panoramic view of Katsumoto and some of Ashibe, showing me once again how lucky I am to be living on this island.  I don’t know if (or when) the love for Iki will fade away, but I’m so glad I had someone come on Iki to remind me of its amazing, wonderfulness.  Seriously:

Yeah.  Seriously.

Yeah. Seriously.

So, overall, a fantastic two days.  I’ve been having a number of great weekends lately and hope they continue.  Next weekend, the gang is going to Fukuoka for the JLPT exams (I am not taking them, merely tagging along to buy some more indoor winter shoes and watch Wall E).  I look forward to more good times in Japan. 

My life is awesome.  Just gonna throw that out there.  Feel free to throw it right back.

Jacqui and I are both wearing Harry Potter jackets because we had to show the Japanese people how darn cool Harry Potter is.

Jacqui and I are both wearing Harry Potter jackets because we had to show the Japanese people how darn cool Harry Potter is.

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