Wednesday, June 12, 2013

rainy birthday 雨の日のたんじょうび

June 11th, 2013. I turned 35 today. I woke up to the rainy sky. It's rainy season in Japan. I never particularly dislike the rain but it's the humidity that makes me feel out of air. I received several birthday wishes on my phone and gmail, read and replied to them. Messages on facebook kept chiming in but I let them be and decided to deal with them later, probably will respond tomorrow.  Mike had to leave for another W3C meeting today so after a quick breakfast (coffee, English muffin and left-over potato salad) he left the apartment and I was alone again. He's been busy with these web related meetings that are happening in Tokyo since last week. Last week I turned up to a couple of meetings and gatherings for a brief moment to say hi to my former colleagues at W3C, but I hadn't done that this week. I had a day completely for myself yesterday and I spent almost all day sleeping. It's been nice catching up on sleep which I hardly ever had time to during my grad school days.

Though it's nice kicking back and catching up on lost sleep of three years, I didn't want to spend my birthday sleeping away, so after I saw Mike off, I was careful not going back to bed. I took a hot shower and kept going. I Skyped with my mom and talked about the weekend plan in Kyoto. Kana, my niece is turning 5 on this Sunday and we're having a birthday party for her. These days she's into pink and girly clothes, so I bought her a pink dress with lots of lace and frills in the U.S. Hope she'll like it. I needed to  get some wrapping paper for that, so I decided to go to a department store at the station. Shinjuku station is 15 mins walk from here and it's a nice walk thru Shinjuku central park where there is lots of green to enjoy and stray cats to greet, but it was raining outside so I took a bus to the station today. Odakyu department store is located inside the station. It has 13 stories and lots of stores that carry everything, from kitchenware to jewels. On the 10th floor there is a good-sized stationary store where I found some pink gift bag. That was easy I thought to myself and just as I was making my way out and passing a bookstore, Haruki Murakami's new book, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" came to my eyes, and I suddenly remembered that I'd been wanting to read it since it came out in April. I wasn't planning on stopping by a bookstore there, but I thought, what the heck, it's Murakami, and it's my birthday! I quickly made my way to the casher and bought it. The lady at the register asked me if I wanted a book cover and I said please. I knew I would be reading it on the bus and train and didn't want people to know what I'm reading. Some of my friends talked about this new book by Murakami when it first came out and they thought it would be such a cliche to buy it just because it's written by Murakami. They think Murakami is overrated. Personally, I don't think so, and despite all the disapprovals from critics, I still think he's a good writer and I like his books. I'm on page 65 right now, and it has kept me up until 4am. So far, so good.

After I got home, Mike sent me a message saying that I should come to Keio Mita campus during the break session of the meeting to say hi to former colleagues and old friends. It was still rainy and I felt like staying home and read my new book, but today was the last day of the W3C meetings, so I decided to make appearance, and I'm glad that I did. Mita campus of Keio University is very historical and beautiful complimented with one of the oldest buildings from Meiji era. Not to mention Keio University is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. As I walked in, I felt noble and nostalgic. Mike came to the entrance to collect me and we walked to the lobby where people were taking a break from meetings, having coffee and sweets. I hugged several people and caught up with them, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Inventor of the web came up to me to greet. He gave me kisses on both of my cheeks that put me on top of the world. We can't imagine our life without the web anymore, and he is the reason why we can instantly communicate with friends from all over the world, and I'm sure he will get a nobel prize sooner or later for his accomplishment. Regardless his fame and status, he's such a people person who is genuinely thoughtful and doesn't show an inch of arrogance.

Mike had to stay for another meeting, so I came home before him. He promised that he'd take me out to a nice dinner, so I sat on the chair next to the window, watch the rainfalls and started reading the Murakami's new book. He came home close to 8pm, exhausted. He took a quick shower and we headed out to a French restaurant nearby. The dinner was very nice, and as a birthday persent he gave me a big green bag that I fell in love with when we were strolling around Tokyu Hands last week. This bag is big enough that 3-4 Mac books would fit easily! I will post the photo later. Overall, it was a good birthday and it feels good to be 35 years old. I'm grateful that I was able to add one more year to my life, healthy, fulfilled with dreams and hopes.

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