It was MY birthday yesterday on the 3rd of November! I'll tell ya, the 3rd of November is an excellent day to have a birthday in Japan because it is a public holiday! This means my husband and daughter don't have to go to work or school and can stay home and celebrate with ME! I turned 29 which means this next year will be my last year in my 20's! Aaahhh! My last bit of youth until I am officially a "woman" in my books.
The day started with Reia and Aila leading me to the living room which had been lovingly decorated by everyone. Reia was so excited about my birthday and was counting down the days. The day before, she went grocery shopping with her Oma to get birthday food and she bought me some chocolate almonds as my present. Oma told her it was a secret and not to tell me, but she was just so excited she eventually over time and after telling me "I got you a present, but it's a secreeeet," she finally said in a whisper "I got you some almonds. Some chocolate almonds! But it's a secret!" She giggled and ran off lol. She loves celebrating things like Halloween, Christmas and birthdays. She wrapped up her own present and wrote a small banner of "Mummy" for me. The table was set beautifully by Mum with platters of delicious looking food and pink balloons dangling from the lamp shade above. It was quite special and as soon as I saw it all, Reia and Aila squealed "Happy Birthday!"
We ate and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. Jun left to attend a funeral and the rest of us stayed at home recovering from colds. The weather was perfect and warmed up the house nicely. I couldn't help myself and start doing the laundry and cleaning the house! Don't want to waste that sunshine! When Jun came home, we took the girls around the block for a walk with Reia's bike and Aila having a tantrum about not being picked up and having to walk. We didn't get far until we hit the bridge. This is where Aila likes to play shop and pretend she is working at a restaurant and we are the hungry costumers wanting to grab a bite. She role plays in Japanese of course with "Irasshaimase" and a lot of "hai's" and "douzo's." We didn't really move from that spot except for a brief game of number tag in a small car park. It was a bit windy so we didn't stay out too long.
We returned home, and when the girls were distracted by YouTube, we left them with Mum and we snuck out to dinner in Shinjuku. First we made a brief stop at Forever 21 to buy some clothes. There wasn't much of a selection so I just picked up some basic tees and a nice knitted jersey that will be good for Winter. After that, we went to the South side of the station and walked into a nice looking Japanese restaurant. We got settled and our course started to arrive. Everything surprisingly seemed to have a Korean twist to it, with Korean appetizers, salads and Korean spices etc. The main dishes of the night were definitely the meat dishes. Firstly, we had 'gyuubashi' which is this slices of raw beef! It was so fresh that you can eat it raw. It came out still a bit frozen, so we warmed it up a little over the grill. The flavour was really beefy, like cooked beef! But the texture was raw, it was different! For a small plate of about 6-7 slices, it was 2,500 yen! Pretty expensive meat!!! The other meat dish we had was the main of the night, the yakiniku or Japanese BBQ meat. Usually, yakiniku meat is cheap and thin, but these cuts were expensive and thick! There was a selection of different cuts of beef including amazing cuts like the inner thigh and sirloin, but there was also tongue, intestines and liver (bleh!). I ate everything though! The sirloin and the thigh were AMAZING. They just melted away in your mouth as you ate, it was so good! There were other amazing ones, but those two stood out the most. The next round was a really spicy bowl of rice in a Korean chili broth. I can not handle a lot of heat and this dish had about a tablespoon more of the chili I can handle. I thought that I had a higher tolerance of heat than Jun, but he ate that bowl like nothing! Mean while my throat and ears were on fire and were humming away. We both had about 2 or 3 glasses of water during that round. Next was the dessert and I thought it would be something standard like gelato or something but of course it had to be a bit extra special. The waitress walked in with a trio of desserts with a lit sparkler going off and a 'Happy Birthday Danielle' sign written in chocolate and raspberry sauce. There was a decadent, fudgey chocolate and walnut brownie, some vanilla bean ice cream and a red berry pana cotta. They were way better than the desserts I usually get at family restaurants. These were SO good and the sauces were all amazing and yum, I couldn't help but lick up the mango sauce drizzled around the plate with my finger! We were so stuffed by the end of it all, it was a really tasty meal and a wonderful night out together with Jun.
We went home after that and were able to see Reia who was apparently waiting up for us. Oma took good care of the girls like she does and they were bathed and ready for bed by 9. Because Reia was waiting up, we snuck into the kitchen for a little bit of birthday cake and ice cream which was also delicious. It was a small chocolate cake, but dense and moist and rich. Just what I wanted. I was still so stuffed though, I couldn't eat much. Then I fell asleep pretty much straight away out of exhaustion!
It was a great day spent with my family. Having Mum there with her presentation skills and food selection in the morning made it even more special.
Happy birthday to me!