Saturday was a day of celebrating for our family. I’m always looking for reasons to celebrate, and ways to turn celebrations into events that foster community. So it was a really good day in my book!
Saturday morning Owen had a special festival at school, celebrating “Tanabata”. All of the children in his preschool had been practicing for over a month for this event, in which each class did one or several special Japanese dances. All the children wore Japanese jimbe or yukata (summer kimono-type outfits), and we couldn’t help but smile in watching their energy and joy as they danced their little hearts out. It was neat to have our friend Yasko come too- she is like family and we loved celebrating with her. The main song from Owen’s class’s dance is popular right now, so we were able to download it last week. Owen practiced his dance at home every chance he got, and did us proud.
After the festival, we went out to celebrate with our family and Yasko at a restaurant that the kids love because you can make your own cotton candy and serves takoyaki (fried octopus doughballs), Owen’s favorite:
Then, on Saturday night we celebrated Annie’s 3rd birthday with a “Tonari no Totoro” theme. This is a popular anime movie in Japan that both children (Annie especially!) and adults love, featuring a grayish mythical character named Totoro. The movie also has dust bunnies that seem to come to life, called “Makkuro no kurotsuki”. This was a fun theme to use for cake material. Annie had a great time, and it was one of the funnest parties Eric and I have experienced in a while, as well. We invited two neighbor families, the Ishidas, who are like grandparents for our children and come to most of our family events, and the Itos, who have 2 children and with whom we have been building a closer friendship with. In addition, the Ishidas daughter Yasko came, and our American friends Reiko and Megumi. It was great to watch everyone interacting – we loved it that we could gather with a variety of friends – Japanese and Americans – and have such a fun time together. Annie and Olivia wore their newly-acquired Hungarian dresses. Annie also received a Cinderella dress during the party, which she loved as well.
The only problem with the dustbunny cupcakes was what the icing did to your mouth (and other things that come out a day later… dont worry- not pictured)
Oh- for the same sense of joy and abandonment that Annie and Owen have had today!
“Except ye become as little children, except you can wake on your fiftieth birthday with the same forward-looking excitement and interest in life that you enjoyed when you were five, ”ye cannot enter the kingdom of God.” One must not only die daily, but every day we must be born again.” -Dorothy Sayers