38 Special

persimmon leaves

It’s my birthday today. My Lakers swept the Nuggets and are through to the 2nd round. That’s a nice gift. And I couldn’t ask for better weather. It’s warm and sunny, and there’s a sweet breeze that makes me want to drink cool water. But I’ll settle for a glass of wine on the balcony.

Most birthdays I like to do every day things. My theory is that whatever you do on your birthday is the tone you set for the rest of the year. I have a short list of things I have to do. Dance. Play guitar and sing. Play a flute. Write some poetry, maybe a song. Laugh liberally. Do some gardening. And most satisfying of all, do some deep housecleaning.

Occasionally I’ll throw a party, like the now legendary Red Party that I threw when I hit 30. Thanks to my buddy Gil, who donated his house and his neighbors’ goodwill, over a hundred people showed up, and most of them were dancers or musicians or artists. So it was one big audience participation performance, from flamenco to salsa to tango, culminating in the best jam session of infectious dance music that I’d ever experienced. Everyone had to wear red, bring red wine, and I concocted a never ending stream of sangria from a big box of citrus. That’s the gold standard of birthday parties.

foot bath

I had a much quieter party a few days ago. It was at this cool place in Roppongi, called Fioria Ariablu, that’s essentially a glorified karaoke room. I picked out the course menu and the all you can drink option. The room had a little waterfall that emptied into a warm pool of water underneath the table so we could soak our feet and relax while we ate and sang. Towels were included. I also liked the air ionizer that made us instantly feel good as we entered the room.

At parties, I like to have little activities to get people involved and be creative. That’s my credo: creativity, collaboration, community. I try to practice it whenever I can. So I did stuff like write a haiku for each guest. I had everyone say a word of the day, which Erin combined into one text and reads like a beat riff. Here’s the result:

One birthday in France, eternal friendship and a credenza. Tsukiri cocoon. I love the universe!

I had them bring something from their travels. Others had to guess who it belonged to and what country it was from. And we ended the night with a rousing “We Are the World.” We had so much fun we hung out outside for over an hour just chatting.


Yesterday I also bought myself a gift. A little plant that I haven’t been able to identify. It caught my eye when I went shopping for lavender. T’s first words when she saw it was, “Tasty! I want to eat it!” She also wanted to make tempura out of the tender persimmon leaves that are pictured at the top of the post. In my Oregon garden, I had to deal with gophers, squirrels, crows, slugs, aphids, and mold spores. Now I have to ward off my own wife. But that’s one pest I really don’t mind dealing with. Continue reading 38 Special