Thanksgiving Day in Tokyo at The New Sanno Hotel

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(All photos snapped with my iPhone4) 

It’s been an incredibly crazy busy year, but definitely the most exciting year we’ve ever experienced. I can’t believe that just less than a year ago we were planning our 11 days in Paris for Christmas and earlier last November, we were on our tour of Northern Vietnam and Cambodia. Never in my wildest dreams 2 or 3 years ago did I imagine that we’d have this kind of lifestyle. It is seriously a surreal dream come true to be able to travel this much together. All of this feels unreal at times and 2013 has certainly been a phenomenal year as we’ve managed to travel to 4 different continents. Wow, it has gone by fast. But we have much to be thankful for.

But we decided this year to not cook for Thanksgiving. No correction, thatwasn’t going to cook for Thanksgiving. I usually really quite enjoy the marathon holiday cooking process, as there’s nothing I love more than a nice challenge and the preparation of a beautiful holiday feast. There’s also nothing I love more than having a week’s worth of my favorite Southern style cornbread dressing and sweet potato casserole with marshmallows waiting for me in the fridge when I wake up at 3am or to heat up for a delicious midnight snack. But this year has been crazy and the 5 hour commute to the Yokosuka Commissary and the full day of preparation just wasn’t in the cards. It makes me tired thinking about that. We’ve been planning another big trip too in a couple of weeks and I just got back from a Ryokan experience with a friend of mine on Monday in Japan so my energy is wavering.

We made reservations at The New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo for 12:30 this afternoon. The New Sanno is a beautiful diplomat and military hotel in Tokyo located close to Roppongi in a very nice part of town. The hotel is famous for its ridiculously cheap nights, like $50 a night, which in Tokyo is insane. Most hotels this nice in Tokyo cost an upwards of $300. But the New Sanno has this old classy charm to it but the rooms are actually really comforting for an expat because the decor is classic American and you even get your standard American TV channels as well. For some reason, watching American television with the ability to channel surf feels like a comforting luxury when abroad. At home, my brilliant husband has figured out a way to obtain every possible movie and TV show through our Apple TV, but there’s something speacial about being able to flip through those old channels again on the remote.

But the Thanksgiving buffet at The New Sanno was really good and certainly met our requests. In a ballroom with hundreds of other expats, I made my first round and came back with a plate of turkey, roast beef, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, and a heaping of sweet potato casserole that dwarfed the tiny ass plate Daniel got. After having not eaten anything all morning, he was amused at how fast I devoured this massive heaping of food. I went back for seconds, but soon enough I hit a wall and felt very sleepy. Thankfully, this feeling passed.

After we finished eating, we decided to go take the Ginza line close by to a station near Ginza that dropped us off near the government and political district. It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon, the sun was shining, the temperature wasn’t cold and the leaves were still vibrantly yellow lining the streets near the Diet Building. We ended up strolling all the way to the Imperial Palace, admiring more beauty and history mixed in with so much modernity, and then headed to the Marunouchi district nearby. We love this district because Tokyo has a very particular old yet distinctly Japanese feel to it. It’s why I love Tokyo, but sometimes you need a change in scenery because it’s so oppressively monotonous. This district reminds me of London because of the combination of modern and neoclassical architecture. It’s beautiful, and before long we stumbled upon a pastry shop by none other than Joel Robuchon, streets lined with shops, various brasseries, and a quaint sculpture garden next to an art museum. We strolled through the streets, blissfully in our turkey coma, remembering how our first thanksgiving as expats was spent in Taipei, while last year’s was spent with some good friends in Yokosuka.  We wandered in and out of shops, feeling much much better after having walked off all that dinner. Walking the city streets for a couple of hours isn’t really your traditional Thanksgiving Day tradition, but it felt awesome since I knew all those carbs weren’t going to go directly to my ass.

We came back and rescued our little baby dog who had a meltdown that we left him on Thanksgiving. Before that, we stopped off at the SOGO food basement to pick up some dinner for the night. We ended up with a bag full of Indian food – chicken curry, saffron rice, and naan while we cuddled up and watched Mission Impossible Ghost Protocal. Benji was elated about this. It was a beautiful day with my love.

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