I have to admit that I feel ambivalant about your Thanksgiving.
Giving thanks is important, I acknowledge that and I practise it every day. And I appreciate that your holiday gives us a 3 1/2 day weekend at CAJ — a welcome break from school and work.
But it is your celebration. Not mine. It is full of things that you grew up knowing, food and fellowship that you will always associate with good times.
Where I grew up, this time of year was associated with the increasing heat of the days and nights. With exams, tests and assignment and the imminent end of the school year. With end of year parties. With the anticipation of a long summer break. The cricket season was heating up and the school year winding down.
But never did I associate the end of November with all things orange and brown. Never did I think about turkey or pumpkin pie. Never had I even wondered what holiday Americans celebrated at this time of year, before I came to Japan. We Australians have no equivalent to your Thanksgiving. Our history is very different to yours in so many ways.
I feel uneasy when you say things like how delighted you are to share American holidays with the rest of the world. I'm part of the 'rest of the world' and I cannot honestly say I share your delight. I feel strangely uneasy at this epidemic of "thankfulness". I'm glad you feel thankful. But at the same time you make me feel like an outsider, more than I do at any other time of the year. I don't share your traditions. I don't even feel a great desire to start to share them.
I don't ask that you stop. I just ask that you remember that there are people in your midst who don't share your traditions.
Just wanted to let you know.
Your Aussie friend,