I was mixing up the ingredients for a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie using the antique wooden spoon my mother sent me and I wondered how many other women, over the years, had mixed up those very same ingredients for that very same purpose using that very spoon.
Or almost the same. Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here, so we feasted on Saturday. And Japanese pumpkins aren’t orange, they’re green. And I had asked for the spoon because all I could find here were flat paddles made of bamboo. Their shape hurts my hand if I have to do a lot of mixing. And there’s something about the feel of a smooth, well-seasoned wooden spoon handle that brings out the holiday spirit in me.
I have learned to find substitutions that will work, making do with what I can find here when I’m trying to create things that are not a part of this culture. And I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it. The pie came out pretty well.
And everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Despite the sorrows and tribulations of the past couple of years, and we’ve all had them, we can still stuff ourselves with turkey and all the fixin’s and take the time to appreciate the people we love.
Tokyo is already whipping itself into the usual year end frenzy. Trees are illuminated in a gaudy but somehow tasteful explosion of consumerism, the supermarkets are playing Christmas songs ad nauseum, and Santas and Rudophs are springing up like an infestation of locusts. But things are going to be all right. I’ve got my wooden spoon, and it somehow gives me a feeling of belonging and continuity. So I will gird myself to survive the holiday season and plow on into next year.
Happy holidays, everyone.