The Birthday Weekend in Ibaraki

I started last month with a weekend with my sisters in Ibaraki.
When you have a sister living in Chiba, another in Ibaraki, and you in Tokyo…it’s going to take at least a weekend to spend quality time together. Especially when it involves a special birthday!
My baby sister turned twenty in June. TWENTY!!!
Hard to believe that she’s officially an adult now (twenty is the official age of adulthood in Japan). I’m still trying to get my mind around how in the world she grew up so fast. At the same time, I’m so incredibly proud of the strong and caring person that she has become.ย 
She’s busy with exams and classes in her second year of nursing school, but we dragged her away for a sleepover weekend and, most importantly, a birthday cake with candles!
You may know our family is big on candles. We believe that a cake is just a regular cake unless it has candles. Then and only then is it a birthday cake. We also tend to lean towards as many candles as your age (should be interesting what happens as we get older…).
We had no plans but to be lazy , which is sometimes the best kind of weekend when you’re together. Most of the photos are my view from the car, to and from the bus station and Y’s apartment, but you get the idea.
Yay for sister weekends and birthdays! x

How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Ibaraki?

The Birthday Fun at Disneyland

Have you ever been to Disney in the rain?
My baby sister turned nineteen in June and she wanted to go to an amusement park to celebrate so we (my sisters and bff) decided on Disneyland! Unfortunately, the forecast for that weekend predicted rain and wouldn’t you know it, the forecast was accurate. Not that that could stop us. We donned our rain coats and boots and headed out for a day of fun and celebration!
My sister got a birthday sticker with her name on it at the entrance so every time a cast member (i.e. an employee of Disney) noticed her sticker, they would give her a “Otanjo-bi omedeto-gozaimasu! (Happy birthday!)” greeting. It was apparently a little embarrassing for her, which made it all the more hilarious for the rest of us.
Even though we opted for the Starlight Passport (entrance from 3pm on weekends), probably due to the rain, the lines at Disneyland weren’t as long as usual and we actually got to go on quite a few rides. Here is our list:
I’ve said this before but the most important thing you need to remember when going to Disneyland is to go with people you know you like and can talk to for hours. Because that is what you will be doing most of the time, standing in line and waiting to get on the rides. I once came here on a first date and…oh the horror! Needless to say, there was no second date.
So for us four (we go to Disney together often), it’s really great because we always have tons to talk about and catch up on that it’s almost like sitting in a cafe and having a gabfest, except we get to go on rides every hour. How great is that?
Anyways, we got to celebrate my baby sister’s birthday with candles I brought from home. I cannot believe she’s nineteen already. Until last year, she was still in high school and since she was in boarding school, it’s been a while since we got to celebrate together in person. So this year, it felt extra special to get to celebrate her special day together!
Here are some photos of birthday fun in Disneyland:
Starlight Passports are perfect for weekend fun in Disneyland!

My sister’s birthday sticker (anyone can get one at the entrance!).
Smiles while waiting in line for Pirates of Carribean.
We got our raincoats at the 100 yen shop (much cheaper than buying one inside Disneyland!).
Yes, it was June. Apparently Easter in Japan lasts much longer than elsewhere.
Waiting in line is always a great time for photos!
In line for the new Monsters Inc ride…yay for rainy dais and shorter lines!
This scene reminded me that I really need to watch this movie (never seen it before!).
These two know their games and ย are quite serious about how well they do on the ride.
Waiting to watch Mickey’s PhilharMagic with our awesome 3D glasses!
Group picture! These rain coats made everything easier, no need for umbrellas.
There were plenty of people who were using umbrellas, too. Very pretty from above!
We rode one of my favorites, Bit Thunder Mountain. Great ride to scream your head off.
Everything looks even prettier when the sun goes down.
Someone looks like E.T.
Celebrating my sister’s birthday by sticking candles in her dessert ๐Ÿ˜€
We couldn’t find a number one candle so we used a regular one to compensate…can you tell? Haha.
Just turned nineteen and already a strong, beautiful, logical girl. So proud of her.
This Toy Story ride is a favorite of both of my sisters…because you play for points.
I never get a good score because my aim sucks and also because I’m taking photos like this!
Thank you Disneyland for letting us celebrate a special day here! We’ll be back! xx

The Birthday Sleepover

This weekend was my sister’s birthday!
My sister came over to my place for the weekend and my bbf also came over so we could celebrate with nabe at home. I always say this but this is the ultimate healthy and delicious meal to have with friends and family in the wintertime. So so good.
And what is a birthday celebration without cake?
This year I went by Giotto, a pastry shop in Odakyu Shinjuku, and chose their citrus fruit cheesecake tart. I should have taken a picture before I stabbed all the candles in it because it was very pretty, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.ย 

It’s become something of a tradition to use the exact number of candles to celebrate my sister’s birthday. Last year’s cake almost ended up being a ball of fire so this year I got three different lengths of candles to diversify the flame. I think it was a good plan, nothing caught on fire. But the candles were a bit too skinny and some of them started doing yoga moves while we were taking pictures! ๐Ÿ˜€

Don’t you love that my sister claps her hands after blowing out her candles? (She’s a kindergarten teacher…it comes with the occupation. So cute.)
And the cake was delicious!

We spent the night just chatting away. And when I say night, I meant way into the night. We went to sleep around 4:30am…but I think that’s what a sleepover is all about. Especially when you’re celebrating a birthday!
Happy birthday, Yoko! May your year be filled with happiness and joy!!! x
PS: ย Isn’t it interesting how you congratulate someone’s birthday by saying, “Hope you have a great day!” in English, but you say something like, “Hope you have a wonderful year!” in Japanese?ย I noticed the difference when someone mentioned it to me. I’d written “็ด ๆ•ตใชไธ€ๆ—ฅใงใ‚ใ‚Šใพใ™ใ‚ˆใ†ใซ๏ผ(Have a wonderful day!)” on a Japanese friend’s facebook page. When I went to see what other people had written, many were wishing her a wonderful year. Now I usually wish Japanese friends a full year of happiness but still stick to a day for my state-side friends (not that I’m wishing them any less of their happiness!).ย Which do you use often?

The Birthday Post

Some say it’s just a number but I’ve come to realize that I am a person who likes celebrate birthdays. It’s a pretty big deal, staying alive for a whole year.

I turned 31 today. Not sure how I feel about this yet. It’s starting to become a pretty large number. I feel like I should know more and be doing more. But I do know that I’m moving forward in a direction that I feel good about. So I’m happy about that.

If I were to give advice to my next-year-self, I’d say to wear sunscreen and take a chance at things that are out of my comfort zone.

Do you have any advice? I’d love to hear! ๐Ÿ˜€

The Birthday Girl

Happy haapy birthday to my beautiful sister!!!
Yoko came out for the weekend
so we sisters could hang out together.
So glad she did so we could celebrate her birthday, too!
We like to use the exact number of candles on the cakes.
No 2 big candles and 8 small candles for us.
Nope.
We stuck 28 tall candles in that cake for Yoko.
(thus the large flame…haha)

We had a good laugh over the blazing flame
that got bigger with each pictures I took.
Glad I got the longer candles or we wouldn’t have any cake left!
Happy Birthday Yoko!!!
May You Have The Best Year Ever!!!

The Birthday Party

Birthday parties are so awesome.
Even if the birthday girl is turning one
and will not remember how we stayed up past midnight
to get everything ready for the party.
And I’m guessing that’s why she has Auntie Kaori. Ha.
To remind her when she grows up
how her mom made all these amazing things
and her dad artistically decorated the whole apartment.
Just in case you didn’t notice
the theme of the party is Rainbow!
And isn’t this cake AMAZING???

It was a full house with many friends.
I thought it was hilarious how so many
single guys were there to celebrate Peanut’s birthday.
But then again, she is that cute.

I think she had a blast.
(Look at her opening her presents!)
Took a group picture after half of the people had left
but I really like this picture for some reason.
Happy first birthday Peanut!!! xx