Monday, January 11, 2016


And now gather round children, for ye shall hear, the story of our first Thanksgiving in Japan.

Last Thanksgiving was really quite awesome, and we decided it'd be worth it to go all-out for this one, too. Luckily, NiQui has both a Costco card and a Japanese drivers' license and is comfortable with driving and getting inexpensive rental cars here, so we were actually able to go all-out. 

Outwardly it looks like there are Costco locations in Tokyo, but the kind of floorspace they require is mind-boggling for Japan, so they're actually in West Tokyo and Saitama, each a tiring hour and a half away by multiple trains and a significant amount of walking. 
So getting a pie, turkey, and a few other things to lug back that way wouldn't have been a very good plan. Instead, thanks to NiQui, we were able to spend basically an entire day going to get them the weekend before we had our feast.

We put on the Octopouple + Le Crabe mix LP Hannes and I gotten from them at a show Rejon also came to a little while ago, and with her as a very sick copilot/navigator, we set out to get to Costco without using any toll roads or highways, which NiQui had calculated would have cost us an additional $18 or so each way. Because every time you turn around Japan just finds another way to fuck you and take more of your money for no good reason.

Some narrow back roads skirting rice paddies and close calls with brick walls later, we finally made it, and had a good day of shopping.

This was Hannes' first Costco experience.

lol sorry guys but NiQui made a really hilarious face here for some reason and I had to share it.

This about covers it even though we couldn't find stuffing or any gluten free mixes, right?
Hannes and I ended up polishing off that whole bottle of Smirnoff that weekend, lol.

We actually found quite a lot of good stuff; Hannes and I bought an enormous bottle of nice sake, a 10-pound box of oats, a big bag of Craisins, a jar of yuzu tea, the beef jerky you can see up there, and some pretty good obligatory food court stuff. NiQui and Rejon got bagels, castille soap, and some other stuff that's otherwise crazy hard to find. 

Skytree is ridiculous! How far away from it were were even?! 

We were also lucky enough to get a beautiful view of Fuji on the horizon as we crossed a large bridge on the way back, with verdant parks and sports fields and trees below.
"MAJESTIC. AS. FUCK." More Liberally Swearing Driving NiQui commented poignantly.

Aww, he passed out!

I was super cereal about getting ready for this and bought a cute little poinsettia in Ichigaya as a makeshift centerpiece. After seeing a really successful one posted in a Facebook group, I was also thinking that making holiday wreaths from pine twigs scavenged at shrines and a few other 100 yen shop bits and pieces would be fun, so I had stopped at Ikebukuro after work the night before looking for said bits and pieces, but I'm glad I didn't find anything. We definitely, definitely did not have time for that.

Begin preparations! On the way home I picked up a complimentary bottle of wine from our local Indian restaurant I'd had coming my way plus another one and a few thises and thats before making sangria, salad, and mashed potatoes until late into the night.

We woke up early, of course, and Hannes faithfully started mincing garlic.

Aforementioned previous night preparations, plus spinach! ALL the spinach!

NiQui had dropped her countertop oven off at our place after the Costco trip, and it was decided that she was the Turkey Boss. Rejon planned to make baked mac 'n cheese and allergy-friendly green bean casserole (with almond milk and cornstarch I have). She also ended up bringing a can of cranberry sauce and another of yams.

LOOK AT THIS. LOOK AT IT. Classic. Classic bullshit. Who put that stupid outlet up there, anyway?! I know I sure as hell can't reach it without pulling something.

But, okay, we got the turkey into the oven, and only one more run to the store had to be made over the course of the very long cooking and strong sangria drinking day. 
I'd put a persimmon, an apple and a grapefruit into our glass pitcher - which filled it completely - and added a pretty liberal amount of gin, so eating said fruit was definitely drunk-inducing, and we started putting a dent in that stuff at like 11 AM.

Cooking, waiting, cooking, waiting..
My mom had also wanted to Skype, so I had everyone say "Hi!" to her.

Hmm... Mhmm. Mhmm. Yeah. Yep. Looks like a turkey.

And finally, the finished product in all its splendour! I'll just tell you right now that we took a lot of pics of this glorious festive spread, and because my camera can barely take pics in dim light, NiQui and Rejon were super, super patient waiting to eat until I'd finished.

Oh right, and NiQui had also brought over this bag of bell peppers she'd wanted to use, so I just pan grilled them. And those mountains of spinach were for the soup you can see, which also has garlic, onions and chickpeas and was amazing the first time I made it but turned out pretty flavourless for this, sadly. Booo!

Waaaaa finally done cooking!

You can see the credits for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles rolling in the background there. It's the only actual Thanksgiving movie aside from the Charlie Brown one (which we also half-watched), I think, so I'd made a point of putting it on, but once again didn't actually end up watching it. Mostly it was Rejon sitting there with her sangria and her terrible lingering cold virus making comments like, "Ohhh my god, now the car's going to break down. Yep, it did. Buuuullllshiiiiiit."

Even though she was still sick, though, she looked good! I, on the other hand, look like I've died and been revived, because I'd taken crampy medicine that's basically a strong sedative (and had also been drinking all day).


Aw yiss. Even as a vegetarian (and supposed-to-be-gluten-and-soy-free-vegan now; just kill me) I can definitely appreciate how beautiful and perfect the turkey turned out. NiQui also made not only the gravy, but cornbread stuffing from scratch!



Om nom nom nom!

-satisfied sounds-
(yes that is a spoonful of butter)

It was glorious. Delightfully decadent! Everything Thanksgiving is supposed to be. This was also Hannes' first ever mac 'n cheese! It was so, so right. We worked and cooked and toiled and chopped and basted and ran out for forgotten things and assembled it for the entire day, then sat down and ate way too fucking much. NiQui made hot apple cider by heating up apple juice in a saucepan with a cinnamon stick in it, and we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas, too. Perfect.

Oh, and then we ate the pie! Hahah! Maybe it was a little too perfect. This is the face of holiday binge eating regret and tryptophan fatigue if ever I've seen it. Wonderful.
The only thing we forgot about was the wishbone! Damn! Next year.