Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

I know this is a bit late, but now that I'm on vacation, I can catch up on my blogs. My birthday was on November 5th and it was fantastic! This is what Julian surprised me with for my birthday.
I wanted an ipod but I never thought I needed one. I was so incredibly wrong! My commuting experience to and from school became fun. I will go to another school in January which is a 15 minute bike ride from my house. I’m going to miss listening to music, news podcasts, knitting and reading books. I won’t miss getting up early, but I won’t get to use my ipod as much. I’ve even started knitting an ipod sock for it.

My birthday weekend was a three-day weekend and I took one extra day off to have four full days of relaxation and fun.

Friday, I went on a 15 km bike ride with Julian and our friend, Chelsea. The bike trail is near Okayama, which is about 1 hour from Himeji. We biked through rice fields, flower fields, neighborhoods and by temples. We were in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful.

We stopped at one temple and happen to show up at their archery competition for high school girls. It was beautiful to watch. It's hard to describe but there's this quiet, peaceful moment before the arrow is shot and everyone hold's their breath. When the arrow is shot, it's really smooth and it flies really fast through the air and when it hits the target it makes this satisfying "thwack" sound and the on-lookers all cheer.
We had a nice, leisurely bike ride. We stopped mid-way and had a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pringles, mekons, nuts and chocolate. It was such a great day! I definitely want to go on that bike ride again in the spring. As we drove into town to drop off our bikes, we saw this computer store
Friday night when we returned, we met up with about 10 friends at our local pub, Hosanas for some live music and drinks. It was Steve’s birthday too, so we got to celebrate together. After a few drinks at Hosanas, we got our karaoke on! I sang my favorite karaoke songs – My Sharona by The Knack and Take Your Mama Out by the Scissor Sisters.
It was Steve's birthday too.
Fortunately, I had no plans on Saturday. I stayed home all day in my pajamas and watched movies, slept, read books, knit and slept some more. I woke up in the middle of the day with a surprise apple pie from Allison. I LOVE ALLISON! Food is really the way to my heart- especially pie. I've never met a pie that I didn't like!
Sunday, I spoke to my family in the morning. My parents box of gifts had not arrived. After I hung up with them and about 30 minutes later the box came! YAY! I got books and money for our trip to Kyoto!

I totally forgot my camera- doh. So, from this point forward there are no more pictures, but I did put links below to the shrines, temples and places we visited.

Anyway, we headed for the ceramics festival in downtown Himeji. I ran into Gayleen and Rosie who bought me ice cream. We bought wine cups and tea cups and a tea pot. I was really happy with our purchases. There was also a flea market, so I was able to buy a coat and a sweater for 1 dollar.

Julian and I headed off to Osaka that afternoon. We needed to get our mini mac computer fixed. While the mac store fixed our computer, Julian suggested we go to dinner at a French restaurant near the apple store. It was an amazing French restaurant. We had a 6 course meal in which the chef selected what he served us. We had, oysters, scallops, steak, frois gras, cake, etc. and it was so very delicious! Thank you mom and dad!

We decided to stay in Osaka for the night. We originally were going to stay in a love hotel, but after walking around for 2 hours and researching our various options, we realized it didn’t seem all that exciting. Love Hotels are for young couples and for people having affairs that have no other place to get together. You can rent for 30 minutes, 4-5 hours or all night. The hotels look really interesting from the outside, kind of Las Vegas like – glitzy and fun. Then we would go into the lobby and look at the pictures of the rooms and they looked like regular, tacky hotel rooms but with karaoke. We did find one hotel that offered Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse theme rooms, but it just looked really creepy to the both of us. So, we went to a standard business hotel.

The next day, we headed to Kyoto. Kyoto is my favorite city in Japan. So, I was really excited to go there for the day. We went to my favorite shrine, Fushimi Inari. The shrine has thousands of red tori gates that follow a 4km hike/walk on the mountain. We spent a couple of hours hiking through the woods. We had a beautiful lunch of soba and udon noodles on top of the mountain as well.

Then we headed to Sanjusangendo Temple. It’s a long temple with 1,001 statues and a beautiful buddha. It was nice to walk around this temple as well. I’ve been to both places before, but I really wanted to go with Julian.

I had such a great weekend! Thank you everyone for your well-wishes and love


Anonymous said...

happy late bday! and happy new year to you both. can't wait to come see all the sights. we're just waiting for dan to find out if he gets into grad school, which will dictate our schedule.

off to see nancy pelosi get sworn in this week!

Gwynne Sullivan said...

YAY Happy Late Birthday!

I miss you and the light through the window in your apartment. Japan winterlight.

My goal is to bike ride all over the world.