Giving Thanks

We don’t technically celebrate American Thanksgiving in Japan (although the country observes “Labor Thanksgiving” this coming Friday, in recognition of all Japanese workers’ efforts and the products they produce). However, gratitude is never out of season, and although you can take the girl out of the United States, you’ll probably never completely take the U.S. holidays out of this particular girl.

In recognition of which, I’m thinking about all the things I’m grateful for this week.

I’m thankful for my family, both here in Japan and across the sea. I’m missing them more than I expected (which is saying something, because I expected to miss them quite a bit).

I’m grateful for my many friends–and especially thankful for their health and safety. (Particularly the ones dodging serious allergies with me recently.) I am truly blessed to have such a fantastic group of loving, supportive friends.

I am thankful for the chance to live in Japan, to study calligraphy and to spend so much time on the beautiful mountains and in the wild places of this lovely land.

And I’m thankful that I have the chance to tell stories, and truly, deeply grateful for the people who read them.

The longer I sit here, the longer my list of gratitude becomes. In fact, I could probably continue writing until my list was at least as long as the novel I need to get back to revising in order to meet my January deadline.

One thing I do know: surviving cancer and climbing mountains has taught me a lot about gratitude, about facing fear, and about living each day to the best of my ability. I hope, as you celebrate American Thanksgiving (or not, depending where you are) that you, too, have a long list of things to be thankful for this year, and happy memories to reflect on, heading into the winter season.