It's been interesting to be in Japan during all the major American holidays, and see what it's like over here. Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Easter were no-shows, Christmas was just an excuse for department store sales and to decorate the town, and New Year's was a blast. Couples do stuff for Valentine's day, but I don't remember what exactly- I think you just buy chocolate for your loved one or something.
That leads up to the Fourth of July, which has become one of my more favorite holidays recently. For obvious reasons it isn't celebrated here, except on military bases. I didn't get on base this time, and we kind of got in trouble for fireworks earlier this year, so options were limited.
What I ended up doing was going to the "tanabata" festival. It has to do with the Milky Way, or something along those lines, but more or less it was thousands of people strolling around, eating Japanese fair food from stalls, and looking at extravagant laterns. Maybe I'll have some pictures up soon. It was pretty cool all around, especially with many people dressed up in yukata (summer kimonos). So, it wasn't exactly patriotic, but I did do something interesting on the Fourth of July this year.
Hope that everyone had a good Independence Day. Drop a line and let me know what you did.