Tip of the day: make sure you travel across the date line for your birthday. You can technically celebrate twice, maybe three or four times if you get really strategic. Our GSE leader in Japan, Takashi-san, staged a surprise birthday party for me in Sendai and he traveled from Morioka to help me celebrate.
His thoughtful gifts included a collection of Godzilla toys, a Shinto back massager, and without question the most beautiful and delicious birthday cake I’ve ever had— a mountain of sakura (cherry blossoms) made from sweet bean paste of many colors.
Right before I went to bed, my fellow GSE team members presented me with their own very thoughtful gifts—coupons good for one day of luggage transport (worth its weight in gold), a mochi breakfast, a sake drink in California, countless belly laughs, and a running partner.
Certainly it will be very hard to ever match my special Japanese birthdays! (Hint to Shad).