Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today, The Cat JET and I made a pre-Thanksgiving supply run to Costco in Osaka. Everything about this trip was epic in scope, from the anticipation of what we might find there, to the failures we encountered along the way, and of course the amount of food we purchased. Costco, as you know, doesn't sell things by the gram, ounce, or even pound. In metric-measuring Japan, a "shitload" is still a shitload. And that's how Costco measures, and now that's how my cupboard is stocked.

Half of my fridge is full of cheese. I am not exaggerating. (I have a pretty small fridge...)

We're planning a Thanksgiving meal, to which we can all invite our various Japanese friends who might be "hungry" for a little taste of American culture. We're attempting to make more or less traditional TKG fare, so we're renting a hall (yay, ovens!) and we've ordered some turkeys shipped in. My task this year will be pumpkin pie, and I'm going to use a recipe I got from our head professor (in Rome)'s wife. Lana is in charge of stuffing. Other various people are in charge of other various things. (I tried to nail down sweet potato souffle, but alas, some LA-ite had already dibsed "candied yams," whatever the heck those are.)

I'm really, really excited, because I feel like this is a really great gesture, and I'm dying for my main JTE to attend ("Mikan-sensei" I call him here), especially after all the kindness he's shown for me. Did I tell you about the time I forgot my lunch and he gave me half of his? I've seen the guy put away like three times my small-lunch size... so it was a pretty small lunch for him to begin with. By like 2pm, I was starving. I could only imagine how he felt, though. This, and other instances of fail make me feel like a total tool. So I'm excited to actually have something to give.

The Cat and I were also jazzed about the possibility of getting all kinds of food for ourselves and our own everyday lives. We daydreamed all the way to Osaka about what imported American goods we might find.

Costco was a strange world of wonder and a little disappointment. We filled a cart and a half, between TKG needs, requests from others, and our own desires. We did not find stuffing or canned pumpkin. We kind of missed out on our main targets, really.. they didn't have mac-n-cheese either, which felt strange.

But they did have peanut butter, and they did have jarred spaghetti sauce, and they did have refried beans. We even got one more turkey which is now in my freezer. My kitchen has never been so stocked in my adult life. I bought granola and bagels and cans of soup. I was sorely tempted by cookies and loaves of lemon poppyseed bread.. but they don't really use preservatives in this country, and I can't eat a (even a metric) shitload of cookies or bread before the 10th. Nor could The Cat eat an entire pumpkin pie. Sadly we put that back.

On the upside, now I know that if my pumpkin pie plans begin to fail early enough, I can make a mad dash to Costco, buy a pie or two, and be back in like 4 hours.

Our failures included getting lost, both on the ways in and out, and running entirely out of money. Like, I was overconfident in my ability to front the TKG fund (we are sorting receipts and getting paid back later, to even out the cost on everyone) because I had 'a bunch of hundos' in my wallet. A bunch of hundos does not security make. I made it home with about 372 yen or something. Classy.

But, if it were to snow up to the eaves tomorrow (not likely, since today reached all the way up to 71!), I for one would not starve, even if we stayed like that for a month or two.

The cheese is for The Other Georgian, by the way, who is making Real Mac And Cheese.



  1. You know, if you get really desperate, pumpkin pie is so easy to make without canned pumpkins. And if you can't find the right pumpkins, I bet you could use kabocha squash. Kabocha is so good, and there are actually recipes out there for kabocha squash pie.

  2. Also, croutons are so easy to make, I don't want to hear "We couldn't make stuffing because we couldn't find a mix." Bah! :P

    Maybe you could make them with a nicer grade of shokupan. Not sure. You guys better start practicing. :P

  3. Who is this L Person !!

    I am offended. Nicknames should not be shared. :(

    Anyways, I'm glad to hear of your thanksgiving adventures, I'm knee deep in planning ours. Thankfully I can't still get all the ingrediants for southern food, in a yankee state :)

    Good luck with the cooking :)