Tag Archives: birthday

A Spanish Dinner Party on St. Valentine’s Day: Happy Birthdy to Me!

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     “I’m going to have a Spanish dinner party at home on February 14th. Why don’t you come?” One day in February, Takako kindly invited me. She had come back to Japan last year after living in Spain for about 25 years as an interpreter. She and I met in an English class last September. She told me that she was going to invite other classmates and our teacher, Michael, to the party. I said, “Yes!” right away. stv4

     I went to Takako’s house with Hisako. When Hisako and I arrived, Akiko was already there and was helping Takako with the preparation. There was a lot of delicious-looking food on the table. Akiko showed me a wine bottle with a big smile and said, “This wine is really nice!” Wow! It looks like it will be a great party!stv3

     Another friend of mine, Sue was going to pick up Michael, the teacher, in her car, but they didn’t show up by the time when they were supposed to come. When Takako, Akiko, Hisako and I started to worry about them, Sue phoned Takako and said, “Michael is not here! I gave his phone a few calls and left messages, but he hasn’t called me back yet! What shall I do?” We couldn’t do anything but said to her, “Could you wait for him for a while, please? We’ll also try to get in touch with him!”

     That’s why I also tried to call Michael several times, but the phone just said, “The phone stv1number you called is now disconnected.” So, I tried sending messages on Facebook. But he didn’t write back…We began to imagine some terrible things, such as Michael had collapsed at his apartment and was losing his consciousness, or he had had a heart attack and was suffering alone…or it was over and he had finally died…

     I gave Sue a phone call after a while. She had been waiting for Michael for nearly 30 minutes. “Thank you, Sue! We’ll give up on him! Come to Takako’s house!” When Sue arrived, we started the party. We were enjoying the nice wine and lots of delicious food, and then I noticed the blue light was flashing on my phone. I hastily checked it and found a message from Michael who said “Help!”stv5

     Actually, his phone’s battery had died, not Michael himself…We were relieved to know that. According to him, he was waiting for Sue at their rendezvous point for about 20 minutes, and then his phone died…So, he had gone to charge it at a convenience store…A hobgoblin or something might have gotten in the way of their meeting…Anyway, we made a toast when Michael arrived. In fact, this time they sang Happy Birthday for me! February 14th is my birthday!stv6

     Takako cooked paella for us. It was brilliant! Sue had baked a birthday cake for me, which was also fantastic! Actually, she baked one last year, too! Thank you so much, Sue! I love you! She entertained us by playing the flute, too. I had a really good time with my friends on my special day! Thank you for throwing such a great party, Takako!

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My Mother’s 82nd Birthday: “I’m happy to live longer…”

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     All of a sudden, someone turned the lights off in the room, and my vision went black. Then the door opened silently and a birthday cake emerged with its candle lights in the darkness.

     Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear okasan
     Happy birthday to you 983309_402338883220294_775877818_n

All the people at the place sang the song together for my mother, who turned 82 years old. The party was held at the end of July but my mother’s birthday was August 1st officially. Actually my mother was told by her mother (=my grandma) before her death was that her real birthday was July 29, though….

      To tell the truth, the party was not for my mother’s birthday. It was a special event entitled “Las 20 tapas y el vino a porron” held by a Spanish friend Mariano. I took my 82-year-old mother to the party. I had asked Mariano to celebrate my mother’s birthday on ahead, but I had not told to my mother anything about it, of course.

     For an 82-year-old Japanese lady like my mother who has never travelled overseas and has lived in a small island like Japan all her life, it is quite rare to have a chance of communication with foreigners even in the 21st century. That is why I thought that it would be nice for such a lady, especially for a recovering person from illness, to have an opportunity to enjoy Spanish food with various people. My mother was hospitalized for a skin cancer in June. I wanted to cheer her up.タパス

     It was very hot night when the party was held. It was probably over 30 degrees even at night. In such a hot condition, Mariano cooked 20 kinds of dishes! All of them were delicious! Muy deliciosso! The party started with sangria, and then Spanish omelets, pinchos of tomatoes, olives and cheese, of shrimps, olive, and sliced smoked salmon, of eggs, jalapenos, mackerels, and ….I can’t introduce the 20 kinds of foods here…anyway everything was wonderful!

     It was the first time for me to meet most of the participants at the party, and of course, my mother had never met all of them. However, all the partiers were nice and kind to my mother and celebrated her birthday, too. They served and were attentive to her. I really appreciated it. I would like to thank them. My mother and I were very touched. 1057830_402338849886964_740950341_n

     Yes, my mother was very impressed by the people’s concern to her. But I was very surprised when she stood up suddenly and walked to the others at the end of the party. It was the first time for her to talk to Spanish and Mexican people, but she gathered courage to say “Gracias” to them. Actually, it was the first time for her both saying a Spanish word and trying Spanish food!

     All of the food was delicious! All of the people at the party were wonderful! My mother and I had a great time in the mixed Spanish and Japanese languages atmosphere. On her way home, my mother muttered “I’m happy to live longer…”

Happy Birthday, Hisako! : Which part do you want to eat? Orland’s mouth, or eyes?

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TS3N1278     “Let me pick your brain for a while…” One day Kazuko came to me and whispered. “Thursday of the 13th is Hisako’s birthday. I’d like to celebrate her birthday with everyone. What do you think we should? And you’re going to come to the class, aren’t you?”

     There is an English class on Thursday mornings at Hisako’s house, and Kazuko would have liked to have a birthday party for Hisako after the class on 13th. Actually, I do not take the English class at Hisako’s house on Thursdays because I have another class in the afternoon. I would be late to the afternoon class if I took the morning one or I would have to give up my lunch. But, of course, I would do anything for Hisako! I could give up my lunch! So, I decided to take the morning class that day.

     I have gotten a lot of things from her. She is a gentle and very hospitable person to anyone. I love her! And so many people do! That is why not only me but also all of the regular students of the Thursday class and the teacher approved Kazuko’s idea. Kazuko thought at first to have the party after the class, but we decided to have the party at the beginning of the class because some of the participants including me had a class in the afternoon and had to dash to the university as soon as the morning class was over. TS3N1276

     We planned that Kazuko would prepare for a birthday cake, Midori crackers, and me a bouquet. A week before the party, Kazuko texted me and asked, “Who is Hisako’s favorite actor?” I replied, “You know, she likes young good-looking men. So, it’s hard to say who she likes the best but I’m sure she loves Orland Bloom…Are you going to buy a photo book or a calendar for next year as a present?” Kazuko sent me, “Thank you! It helped me a lot!”, but she did not reveal what she intended to…

     On the 13th, it was really hard to bring the birthday cake and that big bouquet – actually I was appalled at the size when I got it at the flower shop. It was three times as big as I had expected… - to her house without Hisako seeing them. Midori and I sneaked to the background with the flowers, saying “Feeling like as if we’re thieves…,” and hide them under the balcony. And then we went back to the entrance and opened the door, saying “Good morning!” as if nothing had happened.  TS3N1277

     Kazuko ran up to us, when we entered the room, and whispered, “What shall I do? I couldn’t bring the cake into the house without Hisako seeing it. It is still in my car!” Midori and I explained how we had brought the bouquet to the balcony to Kazuko, and she decided to bring the cake with the same way. I went down to the path in the garden from the window and came near the entrance taking look around and hid myself behind the wall while Kazuko were saying to Hisako something why she had to go back to her car. Then, Kazuko returned with the cake from her car and handed it to me. I received the cake and went back to the window, where Teruko and Midori were waiting for me and they got the cake into the room. Just in case, I covered it with a table cloth. 

     All of the participants were waiting for Hisako at the room, holding a cracker in each hand. She came without knowing a thing about the drama behind the stage. Everyone was trying to look innocent. The teacher greeted to his students and the class started. But it was not a usual one. He mentioned what day it was. Yes, it was Hisako’s birthday! We said, “Happy birthday!” and let the crackers off all together. Hisako was very surprised and seemed not to understand what was happening. TS3N1275

     Some of us went to get the bouquet and the cake, and the party began. Not only Hisako but also all of the participants were surprised to see the birthday cake Kazuko had bought. It had Orland Bloom’s profile on the top. Is it edible? I thought. Of course, you can eat his cute face! It was printed with food colors on the chocolate. Hisako was really surprised and glad at the cake, exclaiming, “How did you know? How did you know?” Yes, Orland Bloom is her favorite! My guess was right. Kazuko also looked very happy to see Hisako’s pleasure, and winked at me.

     The day’s class was unusual. We studied English, eating delicious cake. Oh, I forgot to mention this: We had to cut Orland Bloom’s spotless face up to eat the cake… “Which part do you wanna eat, Hisako? Orland’s mouth?” Kazuko asked to Hisako. She replied, “Oh, I want his eyes!” So, Hisako ate Orland’s eyes part of the cake, and me his hand…Anyway, happy birthday, Hisako!