Friday, November 23, 2012


Though it's Friday (and technically not Thanksgiving anymore) in Japan, I celebrated Thanksgiving by myself while hanging out in Nagoya. It turned out to be an amazing Thanksgiving because I was forced to truly be thankful for what I have, not just because I was participating in what has become a big commercialized holiday.

I was kind of down in the dumps this morning so I decided to take the subway to a random spot in Nagoya. I was too lazy to change lines so I just ended up at the last stop on the opposite end of the line that I live on. This isn't a popular stop at all. I was basically the only person left on the train by the time I reached my destination.

I headed out of the station and choose a random direction. The cloudy weather matched my mood perfectly. Not long after I set out, it began to sprinkle. I found a river and decided to follow it for a while. Soon, I stumbled upon a little park meant for very young children. I decided I needed to swing for a while. As I contortioned myself on the swing so that I could use my long legs to propel myself forwards despite the incredible low swing, I noticed lots of people staring at me as they drove by.

A man and his small dog soon appeared at the park. He was obviously staring at me in bewilderment, but I just kept on swinging. The next thing, I knew he was talking to me (in Japanese) and we're having a whole conversation about America, where I'm from, and the fact that I was a little homesick. Just as I thought our conversation was winding down, an older lady and her two grand children came down to the park. He introduced me to them and we all begin to talk. It was so nice to have someone talk to me in complete Japanese and be totally interested in me and why I'm at a random park in the middle of nowhere. The kids and I began to play together and we talked the best we could. They were so excited to have made a foreign friend.

As we were all talking, the weather cleared up and the sunshine lit up the beautiful red leaves on the trees. It was then when I realized that though my family and friends are thousands of miles away, they are safe and happy, which is all that matters. As I looked around me, I was suddenly so thankful for the beautiful day God had blessed me with and all the friends I've made in Japan. My Thanksgiving didn't have a turkey or lots of pies and I wasn't surrounded my family, but it became of day of true thanksgiving. God has blessed me with so much: family and friends on two continents, a chance to experience a new culture, and so much more. It would be impossible to number the amount of blessing bestowed upon me. This is probably the best Thanksgiving I've ever had because I've come to realize what it truly means to be thankful.

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