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The True First Thanksgiving

We all know the story of the First Thanksgiving, right? You know, Pilgrims leave England, stuff happens, then the Brits and some naive Native Americans sit down for a bountiful feast thanking the heavens that they survived the winter. That's the story you know, right? Well, check this out: that's not the first Thanksgiving.

You heard right... that's not the first Thanksgiving. What most people don't realize is the Japanese reached Plymouth Rock a full four years before the Mayflower hit the coast.

In the first decade of the 1600s, the mighty Tokugawa Ieyasu sent a ship of settlers to find new cultures with which to interact, as well as a trade route to Amsterdam and a path to the other side of Korea for military purposes. This ship, the Fune, left Osaka Bay and, after cruising through the Straits of Magellan at the tip of South America, reached Plymouth Rock in 1616. The Japanese settlers, with the help of some friendly Native Americans, survived the first harsh weather, raised some crops, and then decided to hold a Feast of Thanksgiving in 1617 to celebrate their success.

Here is the menu of the True First Thanksgiving:

Turkey Sushi Turkey Sushi-- Fresh slices of turkey breast atop a bundle of stuffing... a light and delicious entree that limited the L-tryptophan intake of the Japanese settlers, keeping them alert and awake.
Cranberry Sauce Rolls Cranberry Rolls-- Take a hunk of cranberry sauce, wrap it in mashed potatoes and seal it in a seaweed casing. The settlers enjoyed it with a wasabi gravy, but it's just as good plain!
Maize Tempura on the Cob Corn Tempura-- Sure, it's corn tempura, but the Indians call it fried maize! There is debate about whether tempura really was on the first menu or not, but it sure does make sense, doesn't it? Best served with a butter-soy sauce.
Fresh  Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin Pie (served with its head attached)-- These days, it's impossible to find a pumpkin pie in the wild. Back in the 1600s, over 4 million pies roamed North America; today, less than 200 pies can be found in the wild. The settlers hunted the pie and served it with the head still attached, as a sign of freshness.
Apple Sake Apple Sake-- It's as true today as it was in the 17th century... you really need a stiff drink to put up with all the Thanksgiving crap.

Unfortunately, all the settlers died of salmonella from eating raw turkey. Three years later, the English Pilgrims landed in the exact same spot, and the rest is history.


© copyright 2002 The Van Gogh-Goghs