(Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear me, Happy Birthday to me)
Well, in Japan birthdays aren't important. Basically they don't have parties, cakes or presents really. Often, they aren't even acknowledged. For example, I was out with a friend on friday night and she said it was her husband's birthday but that he wasn't invited out with us for dinner! So last Monday my celebrations were fairly limited.
I woke up a few mins early to open the cards and presents that had come from Aus (thanks everyone) but that was the most celebratory moment of the day! 1 teacher knew, and wished me "Happy Birthday" and then that night at my Japanese class (the informal conversation one where I go to a family's house) we had cake.
Each day, for the rest of the week, a card arrived in the mail, so it was good to stretch my birthday out! Finally, I had a small party last night. We went to a new Okonomiyai restaurant down by the beach, where you can cook your own, or they will cook it for you. The family used to have a restaurant in Hagi many, many years ago, and they are famous for their snowcones. I had a coffee flavoured one, and Carla had cocoa and milk! Mel's maatcha (green tea) snowcone had a red bean cake in it too.
After dinner we went back to Carla & Melody's house where we had birthday cake - Carla had made a chocolate volcano cake (as in the middle had kind of exploded). It was also my Ikebana teacher's birthday, and another friend's birthday (Yuka) during the week, so it turned out that the party was half guests and half birthday people!