february first i turned twenty-eight. i know my family and old friends worried that i might feel depressed and uncelebrated on my special day (thanks for all the love!), but since i've had six months to get to know people, i was almost celebrated to the point of exhaustion.
the day before my birthday, i was treated to the song "happy baasday dear roren" ("next day" they said, to indicate they knew it was early) by two of my favorite freshman boys. they're both adorably lispy, and they even attempted harmony after conferring briefly about who should sing the high and low parts. i still have no idea how they found out when my birthday even was. after school, the e.s.s. club had a surprise party for me with lots of japanese snacks and sweets. we played games and sang a karaoke version of "top of the world" by the carpenters...i'm not really sure why, except it might risk not being an actual party in japan without karoke. natsumi (second from the left) even made little cakes for us to share.
that night, i took the birthday box my mom had sent me and opened it with my eyes closed. i slipped my hand under the flap and felt around. hey, i wanted a little bit of anticipation. i couldn't figure out what anything was, so i closed it up and went to bed.
on my birthday, i woke up early and sat down to actually look inside the birthday box: it was a portable party! my mom had included party favors and hats, candles, no bake cheesecakes, a gift, and conversation hearts. i knew i'd be going up to tsu to celebrate with some of my good friends there, so i put it aside. i dressed all in red and went to school. right away i was given a blueberry cake that one of the women teachers made. of course, it was wrapped cutely in clear, printed cellophane. she even told me she had grown and picked the blueberries herself.
that evening, i had dinner at one of my favorite italian restaurants with all the south girls, save allison (who was in australia--jerk! :). it was a marvelous meal, see for yourself. when we had finished eating, i cut up the blueberry cake i received earlier and handed pieces to everyone. we all took a bite--it was revolting! that poor teacher had done so much work and perhaps forgot the sugar. it tasted like blueberry cardboard! we washed the flavor out our mouths with some chocolates a student made that were much better. when the girls quietly sang happy birthday to me in the restaurant, a hip-looking japanese guy with red glasses turned around to sing and clap along! everyone in the world, it seems, can appreciate birthdays.
that's cotton candy topping the custard cake! creative.
that weekend i went up north to join the early Valentine's party for JETs. i was treated to several birthday drinks from friends, and i danced, as i'm apt to do, until my entire body was aching. i had made a skirt for the event on emily's sewing machine. it had a gold, sparkly underlayer ("whore-y" according to kara) covered by a sheer, silky black (elegant). altogether, it looked like a "punk ballerina" said melissa. who could ask for more!?
me and chito, molly's boyfriend
me, molly, emily
THERE'S MORE! If you thought it couldn't get anymore fun, you don't know sam, fiona, sean and marina. the next night we dined at a french restaurant, party hats and all.
the food was equally marvelous, but i didn't document it as neurotically.
finally, the mini cheesecakes and twisty candles.
the end. i'm tired.