Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tanjoubi Omedeto Nova!

A day of flowers, showers, sugar and fun for Nova's 6th birthday; her first of two in Japan. This year Nova's birthday fell on Mother's Day. I can't think of a better way to celebrate being her mom than with birthday love.Nova spent the morning hanging out with her future husband Ryuya. Watch that arm there, buddy.

Birthday Cupcake Challenge: For some reason I've always been intimidated by making cupcakes from scratch. When relayed this to Shawn's grandma Rosie over the phone she said, "Well honey, it's just like making a cake." I didn't have the heart to tell her, I don't exactly whip up cakes from scratch either. But thanks to this awesome food blog,, I managed to make some pretty darn good cupcakes. See how pretty? Eat your heart out Cupcake Royale.

We took a break from easy bake and went for a walk up these steps to the shrine behind our house. A beautiful trail system winds around up there along the side of the ski hill. Little Buddha statues line the trail in stations of the cross like order. When we discovered this trail a week arriving in Nishiokoppe it was swarming with dragonflies. We've called it The Buddha-fly Trail ever since. Nova has a special relationship with the Buddhas. She's formed her own tradition of reverence and bows to each as we pass, saying respectfully, "Konnichiwa Buddha". Here she is communing with one along the way. They are in varying states of natural erosion. Some are completely covered in ivy. Some have broken in half.
Each one depicts a different pose. I'd love to know more about the significance of each figure sometime. We've never seen anyone else on this trail. Everyone I've asked has said they've never been back there. Our own magical Buddha-fly sanctuary. We were caught in a rain shower half way through. Everything smelled lovely and green.

My happy mother's day bouquet.These little trillium flowers were everywhere. They always remind me of hiking in Oregon.After our hike it was time to get ready for Nova's party. Nova invited our neighborhood friends the Taniguchi and Otosaka kids. It was a sugar induced frenzy of cake eating, dancing, movie watching (with the Japanese dubbing turned on), and fireworks. I saw Yugi bashfully stick popcorn he had dropped on the carpet into his pocket. I had just assured him Bunta would eat it up later so not to worry. I was impressed with how polite (and tidy) all these kids are. They were a lot of fun.
We were all missing our usual crew of Juneau friends and family this year. But Nova had a great birthday here in Nishiokoppe with her new friends and we're looking forward to one more before we head home.