Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Birthday Weekend!

The good weekends are continuing to roll here in Japan! The Friday just passed was my birthday, so in characteristic low-key fashion, I decided to settle for a weekend-long celebration. First, on Friday, I threw a geek-themed house party!

My friends called it an "otaku" theme, which means an obsessive fan (of whatever), hence the baseball outfits. I just interpreted it as straight up "loser". Either way, it was criminally fun.

I also got baked TWO cakes... in addition to the two my tea-lady at school baked me, that's FOUR homemade cakes in total. Wow. Shiho baked me this adorable Totoro cake!

And Kei-chan baked me this one!

As if that wasn't kindness enough, I was also overwhelmed with a huge bag of presents. I've got a bit of a thing for the One Piece character, Tony Tony Chopper, and the bag was stuffed with Chopper goodies! YESSS.

There was only one way it was going to end. With me passing out. I cannot even begin to say how much I laughed when I woke up to this note...

"GO SNORKELLING!" it ordered. So that's what we did. But first, there was a little more partying that needed doing. Yup, not happy stopping there, Saturday saw the arrival in Ainan of three of my Matsuyama-based BFFs. Rachel and Katie, who I've been getting down with since WAY BACK in Tokyo, and Yasu! Yasu packed his mum's nurse outfit "just in case". And, well, we weren't going to let him get away with not wearing it. So, that's just what he did. When meeting all of my Ainan friends for the first time. Absolute hero.

AND THE CAKES CONTINUED. Cake number 5. An ice-cream cake!

The owner of the restaurant was even kind enough to gift me with a framed photograph of me and all my friends!

Like, all the love I have been shown is beyond humbling. It's amazing. I feel so, so undeserving of it. All I've been able to do is express my thanks again and again to my Japanese friends to let them know how grateful I am! Back at mine afterwards, we may have got a little too carried away dancing to "Big in Japan". A ring of the doorbell gave me a second's worry that someone had called the cops. But luckily (or not, I guess?) it was just a neighbour asking us to keep the noise down. Whoops.

So having partied ourselves out of house and home (my house is currently a complete disaster), we headed to Kashima Island just south of Ainan for some snorkelling!

It was my first time snorkelling and it was awesome! There were a scary number of jellyfish out in the sea, but luckily they were all pretty small and didn't seem to be the stinging type, they just floated by like gooey shopping bags in the water. WE ALSO FOUND NEMO. Or rather, Rachel did. There we were, doing our snorkelling thing, when Rachel screams "I FOUND NEMO". We all swim over to where she's frantically pointing and, sure enough, three clown fish are weaving in-and-out of a coral reef. Amazing.

Back on shore, we looked out to sea and spotted a puffed-up puffer-fish floating not too far out. It was a pretty pathetic sight. Poor thing. We presumed it'd just puffed up and was having problems de-puffing (none of us know how puffer-fish work). Next thing we know, Yasu's grabbed a stick, leapt into the sea, and brought it back to us. Turns out it had puffed its last puff. The puffer-fish was dead. We said a few words, wrote "RIP" in the sand... and moved on in silence.

But that wasn't our last memorable encounter with wildlife. Oh no. We also saw...



This monkey was literally sent by Satan himself to torture us. The picture may not do it justice, but it was really huge. It saw us coming and didn't budge. Awkwardly, we had no choice to try and walk past it. And it was having NONE OF IT. It charged at us. Yasu screamed like a girl and ran away and off it darted into the bush. "I don't know why you were so scared", Rachel shrugged afterwards, "I would've just kicked it in the face".

And with that, my birthday weekend - probably the best one ever - came to an end. Ah, life.

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Anonymous Rachel said...

that was a great weekend! so much fun! see you tomorrow boiiii

July 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM  

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