Thursday, January 1, 2009

My 40th Birthday: Japanese Cute!

My birthday is the day after Christmas.  The worst part about having a birthday on the day after Christmas is that, well, it’s the day after Christmas.  A college friend of mine remarked about twenty years ago, “It’s hard to make a big deal out of your birthday when Jesus was born the day before.”  How does one respond to that?  

There is, however, an upside to being born the day after Christmas:  an extra day to open presents!  Yay!  When I was little, my parents gave me one birthday present and a birthday card.  These days my husband showers me with gifts!  It’s because he loves me and feels sorry for me, but it’s also because his birthday is December 30, so he was shafted all is life, too. 

After serving me breakfast in bed (Marc makes the best scrambled eggs!), Marc presented me with birthday cupcakes and my presents.  My presents were wrapped in Carolina blue paper.

The cupcakes came from Eleni’s, a bakery in Chelsea Market.  

The chocolate and yellow cake baked goods were piled high with thick, swirly icing and sweet, sprinkles (or “Jimmies” as they say in Massachusetts).  Marc topped each cupcake with the cutest candles ever!

Marc has a knack for finding the cutest Japanese gifts for me.  The first present I opened was a book about Nyan Nyan Nyanko traveling through Japan.  

These are cute little kittens that dress up like Japanese food and cultural icons.  I’d like to note that the kittens are merely dressing up as different Japanese dishes; they are not to be eaten!  The book is a cultural and gastronomical journey through Japan with pictures that depict regional foods.  Look for a translation/review in blog entries to come. 

Shiba Wanko is a new character for me.  I found her (is she a girl?) on TVJapan one day; it’s a short animation that features a dog (Shiba Wanko) that teaches all of us about the proper Japanese etiquette and the cultural treasures of Japan.  She’s so cute.

Tokyu Hands is one of my favorite stores in Japan, and it’s my playground for one of my obsessions: office supplies.  

Marc bought me a bunch of cool pens . . .

. . . the smallest pair of scissors ever . . .

. . . and paper clips in the shape of rabbits.

I’m so excited about my big birthday gift.  It’s a kanji translator!  It’s cool.  Once I figure out how it works, I'm sure it will help me with my Japanese studies.

This crazy computerized pen scans Japanese text and translates it into English.  I'm still trying to grasp the ins and outs of the device, but in the coming days I'll be blogging about how great it is. 

A few years ago we saw a commercial for a pen like this that translated English text into Japanese.  We wondered if there were a pen that would do the reverse.  Marc found it in this issue of Japan Inc. during our stay in Tokyo in September.

Here is the tip of the pen.  It lights up when it's being used to scan text.  It translates kanji (Chinese characters), but not entire sentences.  I know it doesn't work with handwritten characters - I tried that at my mom's house last week - and it's tough when dealing with small text.  I'll figure it out.  がんばります.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How does the translator work? Is it worth the money?