For our second Thanksgiving in Okinawa, Ben and I decided to celebrate the holiday a but differently than normal. Instead of enjoying a classic Thanksgiving feast with a bunch of family (or in this case friends since we are in Japan) we decided to treat ourselves to a romantic dinner date at Okinawa's best steakhouse.
Although I personally have no problem with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and celebration, we found that when we tried to recreate this holiday out here last year it made us a bit depressed and longing for the real thing with our families. Not to mention, steak is infinitely better than turkey so we knew that forgoing classic Thanksgiving delicacies wouldn't be too much of an issue.
On Thanksgiving night, Ben and I got dressed up (which is fun in and of itself) and spent a total of two hours eating and enjoying our way through the menu at Taiyo Steakhouse. We split the oysters Rockefeller, Ben had a French onion soup, I tried the lobster bisque, we each had a giant 14 oz cut of the New York steak (medium rare, is there any other way to eat it?), a side of garlic mashed potatoes and then finished the whole thing off with cappuccinos and assorted ice cream. It was decadent, delicious, and I’m already 100% positive that our Thanksgiving next year will look like this one.
After gorging ourselves on a fantastic Thanksgiving spread, it was time to burn off some of the extra calories we consumed. Ben and I headed to Mt. Ishikawa to hike a few trails and feel the burn. It’s a pretty small mountain, so the hike isn’t very steep or arduous, but this was honestly preferable considering how out of shape we felt post-bingeing. We lucked out with the weather too since we had the first sunny day in pretty much the past two weeks. A mild 67 degrees also gave us no complaints. Sometimes I miss the chill of a Northeastern late fall, but today was not one of those days!
The top of Mt. Ishikawa was marked by a ladder that you could climb up to see the view over the tree tops. It still amazes me seeing two different oceans on either side of us, this island really is small...
On Saturday night of this long weekend, Ben and I visited American Village to grab some coffees and enjoy the Christmas decorations that were recently put up. Even though only 1.5% of the Japanese population is Christian, they still seem to enjoy Christmas music and décor as much as Americans do which is very fortunate for us.
Ben and I both grew up very passionate about Christmas decorations, I was always my moms main decorating helper/Christmas sidekick and Ben loved going to Longwood Gardens and traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood to see the Christmas displays. I'm grateful that we both share this common interest because Ben and I were really eager to see every single Christmas decoration in American Village that we possibly could. We can't wait to return a few more times before the holidays are over- you can never over indulge in Christmas festivity!
Side note: I didn't end up taking very many pictures of the Christmas decorations so the below pictures are just a glimpse..
For some people, including myself, Thanksgiving is the best holiday solely because it marks the beginning of the Christmas season! I’ll admit, Ben and I did decorate for Christmas the weekend prior this year because he had to stand duty the day after Thanksgiving. However, we’ve really loved having an extra week with the decorations out so I think this will be a tradition we decide to keep.
Aside from some ornaments that both of our parents have given to us, Ben and I bought most of our Christmas decorations from either the on base PX (post exchange, kind of like a target for the military) or Nitroi, a Japanese ikea-like home goods store. My greatest fear our first Christmas last year in Okinawa was that we wouldn’t be able to find decor that I liked out here (shipping is a real pain) but I was surprised to find so many items that meshed very well together.
Even though our house is kind of mismatched due to our ugly military loaner furniture and even uglier floors and walls, I still love how our decorations turned out. When we light our Bath and Bodyworks “Fresh Balsam” candle and turn on the yule log on our TV it almost feels like we’re back at home. Six weeks of enjoying this ambience is definitely not long enough!
We're Kara and Ben, a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together halfway around the world!
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