Callie’s Birthday Beach Bash!

Lil’ Callie (she’s almost the youngest) turned 22 on August 31, 2009, but we partied for the first day of her 22nd year like it was 1999.

—————

I’m sitting in my Japanese-style living room on mats on the floor attempting to make birthday signs to reign in the upcoming festivities. Callie and Tiffany arrive before I can finish, but the atmosphere is set. Five minutes into the evening, long before the official party will start the next day, the three of us are up to positively no good.

In the kitchen, we are making a vodka punch, but it won’t stop clumping; perhaps it’s from the Peach Schnapps liqueur I thought might add a nice “touch.” Touch it did, as it is now a tangibly clumpy drink. We can’t stop laughing as we mix it furiously, and, of course, continue to drink it. We’ve had less than two drinks, and Tiffany, who doesn’t drink often, is spinning. She and I push Callie out of the room and in decidedly un-hushed voices conclude that she needs a t-shirt for her party. I can’t find a plain white t-shirt, but I do find a plain white pillowcase! Tiffany sets to work cutting and stitching, as we all question the safety of mixing her state with scissors. Nobody dies, and Callie looks like J-LO in her super short, short, shorter and even more fabulous dress.

Boys, boys, boys, and we are 12 again. Teaching, colleagues, our futures. We’re 20-somethings again. We talk and laugh until the dress is finished and our drinks are exhausted. So are we, and we sleep.

The next day, we’re at the beach by 12:30, fed and carrying backpacks stuffed with party favors and drinks. We have a container to make punch, plastic cups and enough suntan lotion to protect a small albino village. We’re ready. Tiffany has never swam in the ocean… we take her in, little by little, and listen to her giggle with glee. We join in as we swim out. The day is perfect: the sun is shining and the water is cool. We lay out, putting my iPod on speakers and blasting out the Boy Bands of our youth and favorite songs of today.

Around 3, everyone starts arriving. In total, 12-14 JETs come, all ready to party. We play chicken fight and frisbee in the water, lounge on the sand, make new drink concoctions and toast to new friends and traditions. It’s not a crowded day on the beach, but of the locals, half seem terrified of so many gaijin and the other half want their picture taken with us. We make new friends and invite them to join the party.

As it turns into dusk, some of us are drunker than others… and may or may not spend a substantial amount of time streaking. We encourage this behavior but point it to the water. We play monkey in the middle in the water, and I learn I never learned how to throw a Frisbee properly. I’m usually the monkey.

We leave to get food, a trail 13-gaijin deep walking down the road beside the beach. Cars slow… and stare… and drive by, probably terrified. We come to Kuti’s, the famed “real” hamburger place on Nijigahama Beach. I have never been, but I’m privy to the rumors. We shout out with excitement when we see English menus, filled with phrases such as, “Bacon cheeseburger” and “double-decker” and “extra avocado.” Wait. What? Avocado?! In Japan?! We can’t decide if we have drank too much or have actually arrived in heaven.

The restaurant is an old trailer for a car, decorated with Jamaican flavor – looking like a perfect beach shack restaurant. They even carry rum. There is a single man working, and at first he looks scared… but soon realizes we don’t mind if we wait; we’re just happy for burgers. We’re there for nearly 2 hours, and it feels like 30 minutes. The burgers are as delicious as everything we have heard. We give Cali a convenience store “cake,” and laugh as it’s passed around. The man working asks us for a picture before we go, and we take many.

We head back in our snake-line to the beach, our stuff still lying across the sand. We break out glow sticks, poppers and bubbles and run into the water again, splashing and yelling, talking and taking pictures until nearly midnight. By the end there are seven of us. Six of us walk to the edge of the water. The only light is from the glow sticks adorning our bathing suits in creative ways. We all agree, we’re gonna do it: we take off our suits and sprint into the cold water. We shout out in laughter and talk in the water until it’s time to leave.

We’re back at my apartment, and it’s stuffed with futons spread every which way. It feels warm with joy, the lingering smell of salt water and fresh air and the prickle of sand under our feet. We talk until we can’t anymore and fall asleep to the cicadas and smooth breezes outside.

——-

And so it came to pass that a mere month after arriving, we all  – the JETs nearish me – laid down a precedent, an unspoken commitment, to celebrating each other’s lives like we’ve known each other for much longer. We are all we have here. We don’t have our families or our long-time friends, but instead we are handed a job, decent pay, foreign everything and a bunch of strangers, for better or worse. So far, it has only been for better.

Happy 22nd Callie!!!

Callie in the newly cut pillowcase-dress! We called it her J-Lo dress. I'll leave pictures out from when it was fully decorated... it had a few, er, well, expletives. It will suffice to say it said, "Callie's Birthday Beach Bash!"

Callie in the newly cut pillowcase-dress! We called it her J-Lo dress. I'll leave pictures out from when it was fully decorated... it had a few, er, well, expletives. It will suffice to say it said, "Callie's Birthday Beach Bash!"

Chicken fight in the water! Thi sis Kris fighting Callie. Kris (left) is on Tiffany's shoulders and Callie is on Mike's shoulders.

Chicken fight in the water! Thi sis Kris fighting Callie. Kris (left) is on Tiffany's shoulders and Callie is on Mike's shoulders.

Some of us in the water!! In the back - Tiffany, Kris (water spot blocked out her face!), Christina, Tiff; in the middle - Mike and Seb; in front Callie and me

Some of us in the water!! In the back - Tiffany, Kris (water spot blocked out her face!), Christina, Tiff; in the middle - Mike and Seb; in front Callie and me

Tiff and me!! There are two Tiffany's - the Tiffany who lives in Shimonoseki, and this Tiffany, who is Hawaiian and lives on Oshima. They are both awesome!

Tiff and me!! There are two Tiffany's - the Tiffany who lives in Shimonoseki, and this Tiffany, who is Hawaiian and lives on Oshima. They are both awesome!

Mike playing guitar and Chris jammin' along

Mike playing guitar and Chris jammin' along

We are all trying to do splits in the sand... from the left - Brent, Kris, Tiff, Callie, Tiffany, me

We are all trying to do splits in the sand... from the left - Brent, Kris, Tiff, Callie, Tiffany, me

We made Callie wear her dress!! Haha it turned out so great!

We made Callie wear her dress!! Haha it turned out so great!

Our second punch concoction... it turned out MUCH better than the first one! And for some reason, I really like this picture. It's the sunset :)

Our second punch concoction... it turned out MUCH better than the first one! And for some reason, I really like this picture. It's the sunset 🙂

Another near-sunset picture! This is Chris and Sarah (a couple - they live together in Kudamatsu). They were walking so adorably together down the beach; when I told them I was taking a picture, they threw their hands up... I think mocking me, haha, but it turned out so cute!

Another near-sunset picture! This is Chris and Sarah (a couple - they live together in Kudamatsu). They were walking so adorably together down the beach; when I told them I was taking a picture, they threw their hands up... I think mocking me, haha, but it turned out so cute!

Beautiful Tiffany with a beautiful sunset!

Beautiful Tiffany with a beautiful sunset!

Sunset over Nijigahama Beach

Sunset over Nijigahama Beach

Callie and me, super excited over an English menu and hamburgers! What's even funnier than this picture... is that in the States, I don't even really like hamburgers. But apparently, deprive me of American food for a month, and I LOVE them!

Callie and me, super excited over an English menu and hamburgers! What's even funnier than this picture... is that in the States, I don't even really like hamburgers. But apparently, deprive me of American food for a month, and I LOVE them!

Callie, eating her conbini (convenience) store cake! We all sang to her; I cant help but wonder what the lone Japanese man working there really thought of all of this... haha

Callie, eating her conbini (convenience) store cake! We all sang to her; I cant help but wonder what the lone Japanese man working there really thought of all of this... haha

Me, trying some of Callie's real cake once we got back to the beach after dinner. Christina is a frikkin' genius; she has mastered the art of baking cakes in her rice cooker!! (Japanese houses don't tend to have ovens)

Me, trying some of Callie's real cake once we got back to the beach after dinner. Christina is a frikkin' genius; she has mastered the art of baking cakes in her rice cooker!! (Japanese houses don't tend to have ovens)

The whole group! From the left - Chris, Sarah, Daria, Christina, Seb, Kholo, me, Callie, Brent, Stephanie, Jamie, Mike; in the front - Kris and Tiff

The whole group! From the left - Chris, Sarah, Daria, Christina, Seb, Kholo, me, Callie, Brent, Stephanie, Jamie, Mike; in the front - Kris and Tiff

I still don’t have my own internet yet. Come on Yahoo BB! I learned this weekend that in Japan you may not pay a set service fee for internet but for the bandwidth you use. If that is the case, I really have to stop using my neighbor’s wireless. If I go totally MIA, that’s why.

Next post: Yamato Sports Day – An American Field Day on Crack! (Which will include, perhaps, maybe, if I am brave enough – the most embarrassing video taken of me of all time…..!)

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~ by C on September 7, 2009.

One Response to “Callie’s Birthday Beach Bash!”

  1. I enjoyed all of this except for the streaking at the beach part!

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