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My Birthday and Other Cool Stuff

Yesterday was my birthday. In Japan, apparently passing twenty-five is a big deal - a lady can now be called a 'Christmas Cake' because nobody wants you after the twenty-fifth. Also there is a kind of nail polish called 'Just Pretend You're Twenty-Five Again.'

I find this hilarious, as being twenty-six is awesome so far. I spent my birthday in a ryokan (traditional Japanese guest house) up in Hakone, floating in the hot springs with Mount Fuji in the distance. And then I came back to the Internet and all manner of lovely things!

Before I share them with you, though, I thought I should also share with you more of my journeying in Japan.

Even very basic things in life can become adventures in Japan. In our first hotel, the loo had a strange mechanical arm. Many buttons were placed on this arm. The Queen of Slovenia and I regarded it with awe.

SARAH: You do know what this means.
QUEEN OF SLOVENIA: Uh, no.
SARAH: I believe this loo is a Transformer.
QUEEN OF SLOVENIA: I beg your pardon.
SARAH: They're ROBOTS. In disguise.

The Queen of Slovenia and I found a T-shirt that said 'Delicious Is Happiness.' This is very true, and in keeping with the T-shirt I feel I should share with you tales of the Japanese delicacies I have been consuming.

Okonomiyaki - Crepes with absolutely anything you like that is tasty and also brown sauce on them. They are especially awesome in Hiroshima, which is where I had them. With noodles and cheese and spring onions and - Yes, they are good.

Kobe beef - It is like beef and marshmallow had a baby. And then I ate that beefmallow baby. And it was delicious.

Candy tangerine - If you ever thought you liked candy apples, you were wrong. You were just waiting for the amazing deliciousness of candy tangerines on a stick to enter your life, so you could bite into the shell of crystallised sugar and have the sweet tangerine juice burst into your mouth and then end up in this fugue state until you wake up and realise that you are sitting on the steps of a Kyoto temple licking tangerine juice from the inside of your own elbow. Nothing left but a gnawed-on stick and the candy-coated shreds of your dignity!

... Not that this happened to me, or anyone I know.

In non-Japan-related orders of business:

Here is an interview with me and a giveaway with an extremely interesting question attached to it! (My favourite literary twist ever is possibly in Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, which is about Victorian ladies and the criminal classes and con jobs within con jobs.)

Then there is Blogfest, which I am part of. It started on my birthday, so I take a proprietary interest in it, even though it is kind of a lot cooler than me: it's a ton of different authors answering different questions every day for a month. (Such authors include Scott Westerfeld, Holly Black, LJ 'Oh My God Are You Watching The Vampire Diaries, Because I Sure Am' Smith and, well, me.)

This is the Blogfest home page

I answer my first question 'What was the first thing you wrote?' here

Most importantly of all my birthday news, some absolutely awesome and amazing fans made a Birthday Project for me - a collection of fanworks gathered together! One was a flier for the Goblin Market, and another a press release for my vampire boyband.

It is hard to express how delighted I was. I can't thank them enough. I know the coolest people.

I type this looking out on the glitter of Tokyo by night: I love being twenty-six, Japan, and naturally, you all.

Comments

( 80 comments — Leave a comment )
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kyouten
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday! Slightly belated, but nevertheless. And it sounds like you had a fabulous time. :)
mayakda
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
I wish you many jolly ninjas on your Christmas Cake!
sarkysnarky
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
Okay, so I didn't send orexisbella the link in time for it to be on the Project site, but Happy Birthday!

http://i696.photobucket.com/albums/vv321/paraparakitti/sarahspresent.gif
sarkysnarky
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, and which characters they are because it's not coloured and hard to tell:

Top row: Daniel, Marie, Anzu and Liannan (in and out of circles), Cassie and Joe Carr
Bottom row: Alan, Sin, Gerald (in chains), Olivia (on fire), Arthur, the messenger, Mae, Jamie, Nick
(no subject) - sarahtales - Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarkysnarky - Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orexisbella - Sep. 24th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
fadedbluejeans
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
Have I mentioned lately that I love you? Sorry, I'm being a little silly, but I am so glad that you like the press release!! (Isn't it nice that I'm getting some real use out of my nearly-completed PR degree?)

Also, you just nicely capped off what was an awesome 21st birthday for me (on the 22nd, but in Australia, so technically over because it is 2am).

Happy (now belated) Birthday, again, Sarah.

Love,
Sass
sarahtales
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
It was extremely inspiring for the follow-up story! And happy birthday to you too, Sass! I hope you had a lovely one.
sirael
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday! That sounds like an awesome Japan!birthday.
dawn_metcalf
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
Hee! I don't know what I love more, the idea of quoting Transformers or the phrase "beefmallow baby" -- much love and squee on your (belated) birthday!
hanelissar
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday again, I am so glad it was so very wonderful! And I am sorry for the failure to contribute to your birthday page of glorious and awesome but I'm afraid I have been sucked into a vortex called 'preparing for university' and everything that I had to do has been forgotten as new strange things are asked of me and people yell at me losing important letters. How do you feel about belated birthday presents masquerading as Christmas gifts?

Also. Candy tangerines. Oh my. That sounds delicious on a scale the like of which I cannot even comprehend.
dreamwaffles
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Hurrah, happy birthday! Mine is coming up soon, I did not remember we are not far away from being birthday buddies. O.o I did not know that about Japan and being 25! But I am glad you are not sinking into despair about being 26, because that would be, well, sad and despairing.

Is Kobe beef the beef that's been massaged through its life?
alexwearspants
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday! (Man, spending your birthday in Japan seems like the best thing evar. :D)

Also Fingersmith! I can still spend large chunks of time reflecting on how that whole thing went down, and my increasing 'oh. oh! ohhhh.' reaction to it.
agnes_perdita
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday! God, I love the toilets in Japan - the seats are kept warm! Which is possibly less important when you're travelling there in Autumn but of much relief if you're there during the winter.
miraba
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the BBC production of Fingersmith? If I enjoyed it, should I run out and find a copy of the book?
eerisedda
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Tanjoubi omedadetto!!! I think I spelled that right. Anyhoo, happy birthday! I hope you're enjoying your time in Japan! It sounds like you are!!!
(Deleted comment)
playwithfyr
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY

(:

I hope I picked okay actors/pictures for the banner (: will the second vampire story be in a book or online so we can leap on it right away?

Happy birthday again (:

-Play
fyrie
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Aren't the Japanese toilets entertaining? :) Trying to work out what each button does can be a risky business, although I much prefer the surprise of the warmed seat to the more... traditional and much more precarious (especially for those cursed with no sense of balance) pit-in-floor varieties.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - fyrie - Sep. 22nd, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
wendyzski
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
We saw a Japanese MechaToilet at the local Japanese strip mall (which is in Schaumburg IL). It had many many buttons, some of which were labeled with tiny pictures and even tinier English letters. Three in particular caught my eye - one read Men, the second Women, and the third Family.

Quoth my guitarist "Wow - the Japanese can do ANYTHING with technology nowadays!"
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