Yes, yes, I realize it’s somewhat vain to write about your own birthday, but I had a great day with great friends and just want to share it with you guys.
My alarm went off at 10am this morning, and approximately 30 seconds later my phone rang. My family called me! :) Even my sister was there to talk to me! It totally started my day off right to know that my dad went to the trouble of figuring out the notoriously tricky phone card to talk to me this morning.
Then I got ready and Alina and I went to Tokai, because Tomoko (my roommate from college) and her family (the Kikuchis) had prepared a big birthday lunch for me! How sweet is that? They took me in like their own family. After a very oiishi (delicious) lunch, I spent a very fun afternoon hanging out with them and playing a rousing game of Simon Says with her 7 year old neice, Ai-chan. And they gave me the big stuffed Hello Kitty you see below! :) I love the Kikuchis so much and am so thankful they always take good care of me!
Then Alina and I came back to Hitachi, where Jessica and Peter and two girls from Tokyo visiting Jessica (Kumo… and I’ve forgotten the other’s name…I am so bad with Japanese names! Gomen’nasai!) came to meet us. We all went to karaoke, which was an absolute blast. I can’t help but think that 3 hours of karaoke is all that the body was designed to be able to take in one session. :) After that we had a quick dinner so they could catch the train, then they went home.
Alina and I walked home and made sure to stop by the big snow man and take pictures. Then about five minutes after I got home, the phone rang and the Carpenters called me! How sweet of them!!!
I would like to give a big thank you to everyone who made me feel so special on my birthday. I thought today was going to bring on a bout of homesickness, but instead I was reminded of how blessed I am by the people in my life. I love my friends.

Birthday 2005 Photo Album


Ai-chan, Kitty-chan, Ann-chan, Alina-chan
(see, this is funny because Alina’s last name really is Chan)
(I just realized that also to understand the humor in this, you need to know that “-chan” is a diminutive added to children’s names and what close female friends often call each other)


Alina, Ann, Airi, Tomoko in front of doll display


Karaoke crew


Sweet girls


Alina, Ann, Peter


Ann with the big yuki-man

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