Erike had invited us to this Iranian restaurant near Toa Road. Apparently it was owned by a church member, an Iranian who married a Japanese. Have not seen them in church because they were busy running the business and having to take care of the kids themselves.
Erike and I have just started Bible Study with the 2 of us since we live quite close to each other. Since she had invited Akari and Jamie, we decided to do the BS together with them too. So after a warm Middle Eastern meal, we studied Ephesians 3 together.
They had lovely gifts too! A Naomi Tozaki pouch from Erike, which was very timely since my cosmetic pouch was getting spotty (mouldy might sound too gross! But it's something I've had for many years in Malaysia), a pack of Celestial Tea from Jamie (didn't know this brand has sooo many flavours!) and a very delicate Quatre Saisons flower vase from Akari (so delicate and petite I thought it was a tea strainer at first lol).
I felt truly blessed to be able to celebrate my first birthday in Kobe with thoughtful colleagues and friends.
To add to the cherry blossom festivities, Ms Barbie sent some gifts few days in advance too. It was a package of grrly sakura themed gifts, thought it was delivered to a wrong address at first! Apparently due to a typo, the package was delivered to my neighbour on the same floor. The delivery guy was surprised it was rejected, so decided to call the sender, and after some quick clarification, it arrived correctly the next day.
Bet that neighbour must be a Japanese. Thankful that he/she was honest! Maybe in Malaysia, it would be gone, disappeared! No one would know the better, especially if it's meant to be a surprise delivery.
After a busy birthday weekened, and following that a week of hectic workshops, I decided to pamper myself with some relaxing tea. Strawberries are in season now, so what better way to have this African rooibos, strawberry and vanilla flavoured tea than with fresh strawberries.
Oh, just to cap off the month of March, we had the White Day on 14 March. Just a month before, Valentine's Day is celebrated, but quite differently from the rest of the world. In Japan (and Korea too!), you will see scores of ladies in chocolate and gift stores buying for the men, and the men would reciprocate one month later.
This has become so commercialised, that everyone buys for everyone. In my department, the grrls forked out JPY1,000 each to buy chocolates for the guy colleagues. It's more of a gesture than actual emotional feelings usually associated with Valentine's Day. Since the guys outnumber grrls, we bought many various types of little candy, snacks and chocs and wrapped them up together. (I never got to see how this was "celebrated" as I was away in Amsterdam)
The next month, the guy colleagues bought chocolates for us. March 14 is called White Day, also celebrated in both Japan and Korea. I was delighted to find this on my table when I returned to my desk (I was also away for workshops when this happened!) Not only did we get a collective gift from all the guys, but some of the managers also bought additional candies for us.