“Treinta y siete! Thirty-seven! Sanju-nana!” Spanish, English and Japanese were mixed in the room. It was Rosario’s 50th birthday party held on the last Sunday in June and the participants were enjoying a bingo game. Rosario is from Peru and lives with her husband and two sons in my neighborhood. I met her first at an interesting class named “Peru in Three days” held at Aichi Shukutoku University about 10 years ago. She was the lecturer and I was a student there. We have been friends since then.
What I was surprised at on her birthday party was Rosario herself was the host and gave a feast to the guests. As far as I know, the person who is celebrated her/his birthday usually does nothing except for blowing out the candles on the cake at the birthday party in Japan. They are just celebrated by the host and the guests. But Rosario’s birthday party was different. She prepared for the food and drink, entertainment, presents for her friends, and everything.
Getting back where I began, the birthday party started with the bingo game, and I won the game and got a bottle of wine. Yay! Then two magicians appeared and did magic tricks. They didn’t look like conjurers at all, but their performances were pretty good and added to the fun.
After the magic show, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Rosario, and then she blew out the candles on her special birthday cake, which had been decollated by herself. She danced with her husband happily and all the participants became happy seeing them.
Suddenly a big ball decorated colorful paper flowers and cones appeared in the room. Two men raised it up with string, and Rosario, her two sons and the guests’ children started hitting the ball with a bat. Actually, the decorated ball was made from milk carton paper and newspaper, and had lots of small toys for children inside. It was destroyed piece by piece, and at last it was split up falling off the contents on the floor. The children yelped with delight and gathered the presents. That was exciting.
Finally the guests were served food and drink. The main was “Aji de gallina”. It’s a kind of Peruvian chicken curry. I know Rosario is a great cook, and the food was, of course, excellent. I met many people (one of them was a woman who I often see at concerts of Sisay, the Ecuadorian musical band) and enjoy talking them at the party. I had a really good time there. Thank you for inviting me, Rosario. Happy Birthday!