After breakfast we went cake-and-bread-shopping and Guido treated me to another one of my favorite kinds of seafood (and like the mussles also not available in seafood-crazy-Japan) raw herring with onions! Jurre doesn't really like it, but I love this typical Dutch treat!
Normally, I prefer to celebrate my birthday away from home, and this was the first time in many years that we basically did all the celebrating at home and it was the best! But hey then again, I did spend my birthday away from my Japanese home :). Here are some of the people that made my birthday very special:
Myra, Minke & me
Gyano & me
Guido & me
Chantal (my mother's sister), my sweet mother & me
New guy in the family Henk (Chantal's new boyfriend) & me
Our cooks are getting used to the Japanese way of posing for pictures
Latenight bonfire fun with Myra and Negin
Of course, we also occasionally took a break to recover from the shopping absurdity.
I used to work at this EXPO shop, which is now under construction... I wonder what it will look like in December when I return for another visit.
After a delicious steak dinner, I tried to decline dessert but was unsuccesful as the cook showed up to bring me his improvised (it's not on the menu) grand dessert with a blue blob in the whipped cream. Before dinner I joked that Gyano might put his delayed birthday present for me in my dessert, little did I know that he had in act arranged that a couple of hours earlier with the cook. Of course he didn't ask me to marry him ;), but he has seen many American shows and movies and he just loves all the (romantic) drama and traditions. So after dinner I found a blue gemstone amulet (I forgot the name of the stone) in my whipped cream. Gy told me the stone will help me in my love relationships and keep my teeth healthy, which is good because I have a sickening fear of all dentists!
This picture was taken in Frankfurt, on Tuesday morning right before we said goodbye and went off to hop on another tiny Lufthansa flight. It was sad saying goodbye again, I didn't expect any less, but it was in no way comparable to my departure in May. This time it was ok and not mind-numbingly painful to say goodbye. I was a little afraid that my trip home would ignite a desire in me to stay in Europe, but that didn't happen. The trip did exactly what I hoped it would do, it gave me a wonderful and loving recharge so that I can easily last another 4.5 months in Japan before I go back for Christmas. And when I sat on the train back to Inuyama this morning, all was well, even though I missed my family it was actually kind of fun to be in Japan again.