I tried to explain Thanksgiving to a Japanese acquaintance.

“So the Indians and Pilgrims were having a party?”  … “Hmm, sort of,” I replied.

“So you have a party to celebrate the party?” … “Eh, I guess. Sort of.”

“You shove the stuffing WHERE?!” … “I suppose it is a little gross when you think about it that way…”

Celebrating American holidays in Japan is a little strange. The holidays are often acknowledged, though the interpretation is a little off, like you’re looking at the holiday through kaleidoscope glasses. But Thanksgiving flies under the radar. Japan jumps right from Halloween to Christmas, so I was delighted when some friends offered to host Thanksgiving dinner.

I love to cook the whole meal — preparing everything from scratch, of timing it so it’s all hot at the right moment, of baking pies and then eating pies and then having pies and stuffing for breakfast. But this year we did something I thought I’d never do. We had it catered. Martha Stewart would be so ashamed. Well screw you, Martha Stewart.

Our friend Miri (who I met at this time last year) cooked our dinner, and it was amazing.

Photos of food at Thanksgiving dinner are always kind of gross, with their heaps and gravies. You’re welcome.

The gathering was also fantastic. Friends from the States, Japan, Australia, and the UK made fun of jellied cranberries and told inappropriate small pox jokes over turkey gravy and plates of pie. At about the 4th bottle of wine we decided our day-before-Thanksgiving gathering should be called Gratesgiving. Those Brits always have to do their own thing.

It also happened to be my birthday. A great day for a Gratesgiving.