Today is a holiday in Japan, kinro kansha no hi or Labor Thanksgiving Day. While it sounds like a combination of the American holidays of Labor Day and Thanksgiving, it’s actually based on a Japanese harvest celebration that goes back more than 2000 years, though most modern Japanese don’t have much awareness of this fact. While it’s normally a day to relax at home or go to a karaoke box with friends, our neighborhood puts on a local “harvest festival,” perhaps because our city has so many rice and wheat farmers in it (J-List’s office is surrounded on all sides by rice fields). I love a good festival, and it’s always fun to roam the yatai booths and see what interesting foods they’re selling, from takoyaki and taiyaki to choco banana, or maybe try my hand at mochi-tsuki, beating rice with a wooden mallet until it turns into awesome mochi rice cakes. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S., of course, a day for giving thanks and eating lots of food with loved ones. While turkey is hard to come by for us poor blighters living in Japan (the Japanese never developed a taste for it, and Japanese kitchens lack large ovens), I’ll be with everyone in spirit with a bucket of KFC. Happy Thanksgiving!
Today is a day of thanksgiving and harvest.