Celebrating The Fourth of July in Japan

This year our family celebrated America’s Indepencence Day for the first time in Japan.  The past few years, I’d thought about doing something to celebrate with other American friends, but always ended up feeling overwhelmed by the task and never did it.  This year, I decided to attempt a small family celebration and it turned out quite fun, but it also involved some work.

Since Austin and Ethan had no idea of why the Fourth of July is a special day, we read a short, easy to understand article explaining the history of Independence day.  We also learned a little about the American Flag and the American Eagle.  Since my kids love crafts, we did an easy American Eagle craft and the kids had fun playing with them and making “eggs” for their eagles out of milk cartons.

In the evening, we ate a special meal with hamburgers, salad, and corn on the cob.  Since our grocery store only sells hamburger buns once in a blue moon, and often there’s only one package of four buns for purchase, I had to make my own using our bread machine.  That was definitely a first for me — I’ve personally never met another person who makes their own hamburger buns in America! 🙂  I would have much preferred to just pick them up at the grocery store along with a pack of frozen pre-formed hamburger patties, but such is not life in a foreign country. 🙂  Anyway, we topped off our meal with a cool red, white, and blue dessert: raspberry and blueberry shortcake with whipped cream.   For ambiance, we ate everything on red, white, and blue paper plates my mom sent us a few years ago, wiped our mouths with red, white, and blue napkins, and drank our Cokes in similarly colored plastic cups.

After dinner, we went over to the university (just a five minute walk from our house) and shot off a few small fireworks at the dirt soccer field.  Since fireworks are legal in Japan, that’s a common passtime for people in the summer.  Austin and Ethan LOVED every part of our Fourth of July celebration and said they want to celebrate ALL American holidays together.  🙂

Here are a few photos of our family celebration for you to enjoy: