We followed up the Friday night birthday fun with some Saturday daytime birthday fun. Logan’s friend Shigeru was having a birthday party in conjunction with some other children from Logan’s class, and he invited Logan to be one of the guests. We met Shigeru and his mother in our parking lot and waited for a ride to the party. The party would be held at the home of another member of Logan’s class. We arrived at Ren’s house, where the party was being held, in a matter of minutes. It would not have been at all difficult to walk there, but I am glad that we got a ride because I do not think that I could have found the house without an excellent map.
Logan had a great time playing with his friends. In all there were about eight children there ranging in age from not yet born to four. They played with Ren’s massive collection of toys for about an hour. All this time the adults were trying to figure out what to talk about. The common theme of the morning was silence. Ren’s Dad stayed and visited for a short time before he had to go to work. Other than that I was the only man there. We sat and talked a little but mostly watched the kids play. Then the magic thing that brings all people together came out. No, not that! Food.
Ren’s Mom began to bring out plate after plate of food. There were sandwiches and fried chicken. My favorite though was the big giant bowl of sushi. Now this was not ordinary sushi it was a special type of sushi called chirashizushi, and Ren’s Mom had gotten up at five in the morning to prepare it. Chirashizushi is sushi that is all mixed up. The rice is prepared and mixed with long strands of scrambled egg, seaweed, and little tiny fish that are almost too small to see. It is a very special and very delicious type of sushi that is usually served in the spring for the Hina doll festival. We were also fortunate enough to eat some authentic Chinese gyoza. Shigeru mother and father are Chinese, and his mother made some delicious steamed pork wontons. It was a lot of fun to eat our fill of the delicious food.
We enjoyed the lunch and the kids went back to playing. It was time for after lunch karaoke. Ren had a little keyboard with a microphone. The children took turns sitting at the toy piano and playing while another would sing into the microphone. Ren was quite a rock star. He really had a good time singing, and he was dressed the part too. He had the glam rock look down pat. He had decked himself out in a pink barrette and a bright pink headband. Logan tickled the ivories while his front man Ren belted out the tunes. He was just a little eyeliner short of being David Bowie’s Iggy Stardust. Logan and his friends had a great time. They did not seem quite satisfied however. There was something missing from this birthday party.
Then that which was missing was found, and out came the cake. It was a simple cake with white frosting and strawberries on top. I was a bit shocked and delighted when I was asked to cut the cake.
I was horrified however that they wanted me to carve it up before singing Happy Birthday. I lead a rousing rendition dedicated to “everyone” then I sliced the cake into twelve portions. We devoured the cake. I think that the cake was the first homemade cake that did not come out of a rice cooker; we have had in a little over a year. And a delicious cake it was. I ate my entire piece and some of Logan’s piece too, as he was more interested in playing with his friends than in eating cake. Not too long after cake we made a graceful exit and soon found ourselves in the loving confines of our own home.
Always trying to find a way to escape the prison of our own four walls we soon found ourselves making our way to the local Starbucks. It is a bit amazing but it was Jenny who made the suggestion. We were sitting in our chilly apartment when she suddenly exclaimed, “I think a nice hot latte would be nice.” Me never being one to pass up an opportunity to drink a nice latte; I was up and standing at the door with my coat on as my answer. I figured that actions speak louder than words. So off we trooped to the one Starbucks in Omihachiman. I drank a gingerbread latte and Jenny had a crème brulee. Logan shared whichever one he could get his hands on. We sat and joked about our day and how much fun we had as we sipped our coffee. Once again the day ended with a nice cup of Joe. Perfect.