The weather had become just cool enough to wear jeans without melting into a puddle of sweat. Hallelujah. Simply that was enough to make my day. But I was waiting for a “big surprise” from Karl.
It was my golden birthday. A Friday.
Finally, a car pulled up to our new apartment. Karl hopped out, proclaiming the plans for the evening: he and a group of his Japanese co-workers and employers (including his supervisor, school principal and the head of the Board of Education) were taking me out to a fancy Japanese restaurant.
We politely celebrated, communicating in as much Japanese and English as we could muster. They gave me flowers and cell phone charms.
We had been in Japan for hardly any time at all. We hadn’t had much time to form any friendships. But nevertheless, Karl put together a lovely birthday party for me.
My golden year came. It went. And what a year it was. A year of firsts: first year of marriage, first year living abroad, first year out of college, first “real”job, first major natural disaster. It was a lot to take in.
A year later, I have learned much and been reminded how much I don’t know. Life is easier now. We are used to living in Japan. We have many friends.
Which means I had an awesome birthday party this year.
Last Saturday, a big group of us went to one of our favorite places in Ogawa- 太田ホルモン. Papa San had promised me a present of a fried chicken and a 大生ビール (a gigantic draft beer).
How could I resist?
So we booked the back room. And we ate. We drank. We laughed. We talked.
Papa San out did himself: he presented us with three heaping plates of fried chicken, teriyaki chicken and Korean stir-fry chicken. These were his gifts to us. An ever-generous soul!
|Papa San-in all his glory!|
As we were leaving, Papa San stopped me to shake my hand and present me with one last offering-a huge bottle of yuzu booze. (A very strong citrus flavored beverage.)
A fantastic birthday.