When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?
John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Pumpkin” (1850)
On Thursday, I thoroughly enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with dear friends and less dear colleagues – mostly other gaijin – at Cheryl’s apartment here in Kitakyushu. The food, which included everything you’d expect at a Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, green bean casserole, etc.) and some things you might not (pork tenderloin, kinako-crusted pumpkin pie, Rochefort 8, Chimay Première, La Trappe Tripel, etc.), was absolutely delicious. And I mean delicious. Eat-till-it-hurts-but-then-still-want-more delicious. More delicious than I ever remember Thanksgiving fare being. Which made me wonder: was it so amazing because it actually was better than any previous year’s Thanksgiving dinner, or was it so amazing because of my own nostalgic associations with it? Or maybe my beer pairings were just exceptionally well-chosen. At any rate, it was great fun, and it made me think… hmm, maybe I do have a culture of my own, after all.