Holidays and Foods in Tokyo
Wow, time does fly by here in the magic kingdom. It seems like I just moved here, but a second set of holidays are already upon us. The pace of life here is so fast that the days blur by.
I have been an American expat for over twenty years, I have observed how other countries reject, accept, or embrace our holidays. In the reject column are countries like Saudi Arabia (where celebrating another religion’s Holy Day can lead to arrest or expulsion) and France (if it ain’t French, it ain’t merde). Most of the other countries I have worked in are in the accepting category (Italians love holidays as a reason to spend time with their families, the British love our holiday traditions; although Independence Day is still a sore point with them). In the Philippines they love a good excuse to pig out (literally, my last Filipino Thanksgiving included roast lechon; a welcome substitute for the turkey).
One thing I admire about Japan is that they embrace input from other cultures as well as the sumptuous foods in Tokyo. You should see how they celebrated Halloween and Valentine's Day in Japan.
For the Thanksgiving holiday, they have a similar holiday celebrated on 23 November. Appropriately enough, their holiday is called Labour Thanksgiving Day. Although they don’t have our tradition of overeating on this holiday, they do have the concept of giving thanks for blessings. The best foods in Tokyo are also prepared and served to celebrate the occasion.
Here in Tokyo, a city of 13 million, we are lucky enough to have a wide choice of Turkey day options. There are dozens of restaurants that offer “seto” prices for a fixed Thanksgiving menu. Some restaurants that offers the most delightful foods in Tokyo, as recommended by the TJL team are:
Roti Roppongi – Offers a Roast Turkey with Zinfandel set menu priced at 4,800 Yen per person. They will be offering this option on 24 and 25 November. They also welcome children, which a lot of Japanese restaurants avoid.
Tucano’s – Offers a fixed price, fixed time, all you can eat style buffet. For 4,000 Yen and 120 minutes, you can eat all you want from a wide variety of Brazilian meats. They are also offering Turkey and all the trimmings this week on November 23 to 26. Wednesday and Thursday’s feeding also include live Brazilian dancers. Reservations are recommended.
Hard Rock Café – This year Hard Rock offers a Thanksgiving Special Dinner every day from 14 November to 30 November. This ensures that even if you can’t get off work on Turkey Day, you can still get your fill of American Style cooking along with the different foods in Tokyo.
The New Sanno – This option is only available to those who are associated with the US presence in Japan (Embassy, military, etc.). But if you can get in, it is by far the best spread for the money available in Tokyo. A huge buffet is offered, tables groaning with tasty options, a carving station that includes turkey, ham, and beef, and more deserts than you can handle. All for a price of $25.95 per adult, Children from 4 to 12 pay $12.95. Available only on Thursday, 24 November. Reservations and ID Card (or sponsor) required.
These joints offer the best foods in Tokyo, so try to visit any of these if you are celebrating Thanksgiving in Tokyo.
Since we will be working on Thanksgiving Day (24 November), the TJL team will probably be hitting one of the more flexible options. However, no matter where we are in the world, we take a few minutes to be thankful for our blessings. This year, we were blessed to have another year in Tokyo, Japan.