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Vagabonding Our time being 'of no fixed abode'.

Japanese Birthday

JAPAN | Thursday, 18 October 2007 | Views [1619]

Eventually we made it to Japan and I did the conference talk.

Thursday was my birthday and I started it off in fine style by missing the first 9 1/2 hours of it sleeping! A much needed lie in.

After a full Japanese breakfast in the hotel I opened my present from Nick (nifty Japanese bits and pieces!) and we eventually headed off to do some shopping. Nick was very patient while I looked through almost every shop and chose some pieces of fabric for making stuff with.

By 2pm we were hungry so we went to a place Nick had already sussed out and got some fine bubbly wine (and not too expensive either). We then frequented one of the many convenience stores - and boy are they convenient - and got some quality sushi etc for not many Yen at all. We took the whole lot to a nearby park, beautifully manicured as you would expect. I don't think it was just the wine but on the way out there seemed to be not just a 'pussy dog' (dog that looks like a cat) but a 'ratty dog' complete with Minnie-mouse dress! Dearest ones, if I ever do anything like that please lock me in a dark room until I come to my senses.

Reinvigorated we went back to a huge shopping street and revisited some cool shops and bought loads of cutesy stationery and the like. In the Daimaru shopping mall we were impressed by the lady whose job it was to announce the lift at each floor and welcome you to the Daimaru lift and thank you very much for taking the Daimaru lift etc...

We shopped until we nearly dropped and needed refreshment. Water wouldn't cut it any more so in a maze of clubs and crazy looking places we found a tiny bar with just one Japanese man in it and a lady behind the counter. After a bit of initial confusion we managed to get across that we wanted two beers - the Japanese man helping a little with translations. The lady was making some intricate stuffed mashed rice ball things and in due course we were offered a couple each for 'no money'. We tried hard to converse a little and I showed them some of the recently acquired birthday treats.

The man was chatting away to the lady (who turned out to be his 'Mrs'), and the only word we recognised was 'Americano'. So it was a surprise to him, when he asked where we were from, that we replied 'Nu Jirando' The 'Mrs' was making some dumpling thingys and we were asked if we wanted some. So we ordered another beer each while we waited (slow food!) and gave the Japanese phrase book another work out. The food, when it was ready, was terrific and we said as much, mangling the Japanese language along the way. The man then started rumaging in his briefcase and presented us with the back of a piece of paper to sign. He wanted a message and signature from us as we were from New Zealand! When it was done he hung it, pride of place, on the wall! He stopped to write the date on it and I commented that the date was my birthday - which excited them even further. Bless them, he even asked if we speak English in New Zealand, so I lied and said 'Yes'. I know we think we do...

After a short time the man got up and asked us in good English to wait a few moments - then he disappeared (ironically 'just one moment please' is one of the few phrases I can understand in Japanese!). He came back in about 10 minutes with a lovely bunch of flowers, 6 white roses, for me for my birthday!!! So then we all got cosy and photos were taken in true Japanese style. It was so sweet and we eventually left there hardly believing what had happened.

I'm sure I'll never forget that one!

Tags: On the Road


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