Birthday weekend!

Another year, another birthday!  Someday I’ll realize my dream of taking my birthday off and having a day of idle luxury but this year, I had a wonderful evening after a day of PALS (a class that is not wonderful although I am appreciative that I now have my certification and it was free).

SMS made a delicious dinner of chicken soft tacos (California is getting closer) and an assortment of Japanese mini-cakes.  I opened my presents and cards from my well-wishers (ha ha, but in seriousness, thanks Mom & Dad, Rip & Linda and Marty!).  SMS bought me The Smitten Kitchen cookbook and a pair of hiking boots, which he had given to me prior to our Jogasaki trip.  I also had fresh flowers greeting me when I got home.  Overall, it was a great day and even though I’m starting to get to the point where I don’t exactly want to disclose my age, I’m still very happy and appreciative of what has gotten to me to this point in my life.

From L to R: Yokohama Outfield Section, Swallows fans, beautiful tulips outside the stadium

On Saturday, SMS was awesome and came with me to a Yokohama Baystars game.  He was fighting a mean cold but he still came out to hang with his birthday girl wife!  I thought we were going to luck out and get outfield seats in the Yokohama section but alas, we were in the Yakult Swallows section. So, loyal fans that we are, we immediately switched our allegiance and cheered for the Swallows.  It was a lot of fun and after the home runs, there was an umbrella dance that our seat mate lent me his little umbrella so I could participate.  I had a great time but it was a little cold so after the release of the Baystar balloons during the 7th inning stretch, we took off.  I’m pretty determined to make it to one more game and get Yokohama tickets so I can use my noisemaker bats but we’ll see.

Afterwards, we walked down the canal by Hinedocho and admired the cherry blossoms.  I’ve been calling the end of Sakura season for a few days now but I’m glad I was surprised by a final gorgeous display.

From L to R: The main shrine, interesting lawn ornament, self-appointed traffic director who shadowed
the real traffic control men- they were not as interesting to photograph!

Sunday was the day that SMS was determined to rally for because it was the Kawasaki Fertility festival, aka the Penis Festival.  This blog has a pretty comprehensive post about the festival, including its “demonic” origins.  We had a great time.  It was crazy crowded and at one point, we tapped out so we could seek shelter from the rain but since our timing coincided with the heaviest rain of the day, it was perfect.

The three floats

After lunch, we walked outside right as the parade was about to pass us by- awesome timing!  There were three mikoshi floats.  My favorite was the giant pink phallus which was carried by middle-aged cross-dressed men.  They didn’t look very ladylike but they did look like they were having a lot of fun.  We went to the temple grounds and bought penis lollipops and chu-hi (they go together like PB&J) and looked at all the food stands.  We headed back to the main Keikyu Kanazawa station and had a few beers at T.T. brewery.   They have excellent microbrews and cool spider charts to plot out the beers’ characteristics.  I highly recommend if you’re in the area!

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