September 22nd, 2009

fairy bun

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.
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.