Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Friday, January 11, 2008

Completing Yet Another Cycle

You'd think at my age I'd have come to treat my birthday as a mournful if not frightful occasion. I haven't. Considering that I a.) refuse to let my age dictate my life and b.) am 100% opposed to the whole aging bit anyway, I still do my best to enjoy the anniversary of my having entered the world (feet first).

Not that they made it easy for me this year. As with everyone at Ye Olde Academy, I'm assigned "day duty" on at least three weekdays and one holiday each year. The holiday post means a full day of being cooped up in the main office keeping tabs on everything that goes on in our sprawling campus. The weekday assignment, on the other hand, doesn't really come into force until evening, when it entails shooing any remaining students out of the building and locking everything up for the night. It's not particularly difficult or unpleasant work, but it is kind of time consuming (since it's such a large and spread out campus). Wouldn't you know it, I got assigned "day duty" on my birthday. It wasn't so bad, though; it was a special work day, so there were no students there at all in the evening, and a group of teachers was going to be there late. I was able to complete the final patrol quickly, hand over the keys and logbook to the night owls, and shoot on out of there like a BLUE tornado.

Speaking of tornadoes, did I mention that weird storm that swept in on an otherwise calm, sunny day just before New Year's Eve? Seriously. It was sunny, then we heard a BOOM of thunder, then the sky turned BLACK. Not long after that the wind suddenly picked up...a lot. The center of the storm included a funnel-shaped cloud that was most definitely spinning, though it thankfully never made it to the ground. The hail that followed in its wake did, though. It was sunny again just over an hour later. That was spooky.

But I digress. I hurried home (within the legal limit, of course), ran inside the house, and this is what I saw:

2008 Happy Birthday

...and the Japanese version...

2008 Otanjoji omedetou

Needless to say, my daughter really knocked herself out. (Unfortunately, she used double-sided tape, so cleanup was a bit of a bother, but oh well.)

My wife came home late from work, as usual, so she bought a cake from the bakery instead of making one. This is what it looked like:

2008 birthday cake

I really have to wonder about this. She says she forgot my age, and that's why she supplemented the numerical candles with a couple of regular ones to make the total correct.

2008 birthday cake II

My wife forgot my age?

Dinner was definitely a feast. The main course was baked salmon, and my wife got a really big, high-quality fish. It was total nummers. This was paired with mashed potatoes (a rare treat for me here!) and bread plus a number of more conventional Japanese dishes (to make the in-laws happy). It was great! It was like Christmas or Thanksgiving all over again, only different. I only regret that I didn't think to take a picture of it.

As for my birthday presents, it was a rather interesting combination. My in-laws kept it practical, giving me basically one day's full set of clothes. One of my longtime blog friends sent me what should have been a lovely gift, but it unfortunately didn't survive the trip. (Thank you very much anyway! You know who you are!) Other than that, this is mainly what I got from my wife and kids:

2008 B-day presents 1

Do you see any kind of pattern here, perhaps?

2008 B-day presents 2

Then there's this wonderfully cosmopolitan collection: cheddar cheese from New Zealand, cappuccino liqueur cake and paté from Germany, chocolate fondue from Belgium, a dark Toblerone bar from Switzerland, two different kinds of Tim-Tam chocolate cookies from Australia, and anti-perspirant from the U.S.A.. (??)

(Let's all sing: One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you guess which thing is not like the others before I finish my song? Actually, I requested the American anti-perspirant, and it was from my parents...along with a hackey-sack and bottle opener in my college colors. Maybe that's a hint that I need to party more.)

I think it all did the job just fine. So the cosmos has suffered my presence for one more year without any supernovae or spontaneous black holes forming nearby. Hopefully the next year will be at least as good if not better.

But I still refuse to grow up. If you saw the way men my age tend to act in this country you'd probably understand why. No thanks.

(Er...did I say "nummers" a bit ago?)


  • Happy Birthday. Myself I have always thought little of birthdays, my own in particular. This has the effect that sometimes when someone asks my age I have to really stop and think of what it would be. Last year I got distracted doing other things in the days leading up to it that when my parents called me in the evening to wish me happy birthday I was surprised to hear that it was my birthday....

    By Anonymous The Intrepid Adventurer, at 1:47 AM  

  • Well, MM, your birthday stash looks quite good and I'm learning more about your tastes :-) Glad that your day (after school duties) turned out so well. Like your previous commenter, I have to calculate when I'm asked my age - just can't remember! Anyway, thank you for sharing your birthday with us, and even a photo of yourself!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 AM  

  • My gift to you is that I let you live.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 5:01 AM  

  • happy birthday!

    I had to read the section about the candles twice because I thought when I saw forty one, that can't be right, your birthday is before mine, and I always remember you were just slightly older than me!

    Feet first eh?

    By Anonymous Dave, at 5:04 AM  

  • Happy birthday! (a day late) I'm glad you have such a thoughtful family!

    Congrats on the Star Trek DVDs! It has both the Japanese and English tracks right?

    By Blogger Swinebread, at 7:56 AM  

  • Happy Birthday old man. I mean, young man older than your wife thinks. That's a good thing. Nice to have your family remember you and celebrate so nicely.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 11:20 AM  

  • Oh no... I'm so late!!! How could I??? *big sigh*

    Happy Belated Birthday, MM!!

    Glad that you had a wonderful b'day with a lot of presents :D

    By Blogger Selba, at 7:49 PM  

  • Happy Belated Birthday, old man! May you have many, many more.

    By Blogger Kami, at 6:21 PM  

  • yes yes,

    It is a Happy Birthday..

    hmmm... capricon.

    My best friend celebrated birthday on the same day too, but he is born in the year of the dog,

    By Blogger Robin, at 11:48 AM  

  • Happy belated birthday :)

    I'm so sorry to be late!!!

    By Anonymous Ångele, at 2:58 PM  

  • Happy Birthday, even tho I'm late. I forgot you were right around w/ Hashim, if not the same day...

    love the gifts... can only imagine what you thought w/ all the Star Wars stuff.... great gift.

    love the cake ... used to love those little chewy things when i was young... can't remember what it's called.

    By Blogger Um Naief, at 7:24 AM  

  • Dear MM, Happy Belated Birthday and may you have many, many more happy returns.

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 4:22 PM  

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