Yasu’s birthday dinner

I know, I know, Yasu turned 27 in the beginning of December, so how come we had his birthday party at the end of January?
Well, his real birthday was right at the end of the fall semester, so most of his friends were busy writing final papers for school. Besides that a lot of people were already (on their way) home to be with their families for the holiday season.
So we planned this party at the beginning of spring semester, with everybody back in town and not busy with schoolwork, yet. And we ended up with an impressive group of 24 people! That sure made Yasu happy.
So far we’re not really impressed with American restaurants (years of eating out at restaurants in Japan have spoiled us) so we usually turn to Japantown when we want to go out for dinner in San Francisco. Osakaya is our favorite restaurant there because it serves the best yakiniku teishoku (grilled beef set meal) and everything is reasonably priced. We wanted to have the party at Osakaya, but the problem was that the restaurant is small and they don’t take reservations.

But our group would fill half of their restaurant so I convinced the hesitant manager to let me reserve half of their restaurant for a Saturday night. They were a bit scared I wasn’t for real, so they required the reservation a week in advance, an extra confirmation a day in advance and the whole group needed to show up exacly on time, otherwise they’d give away the seats to waiting customers.

Especially the being on time thing scared me because people here are fashionably late, as a rule. So I told everybody dinner was an hour earlier than it actually was…. And it worked! The restaurant even allowed us to go in early and wait at our tables for everybody to arrive ‘on time’.

I have no idea what the restaurant staff thought of us… We were probably way too loud and taking way too long to order, to eat and eventually pay our bill (which can be quite a challenge with such a large group). But they were all super friendly, brought our drinks and food quickly, and the food was quite tasty as usual (I recommended the yakiniku to anyone that would listen).

What’s fun about such a big party is that are so many lovely people together in one space, and you kind of wish it could happen everyday. What’s too bad about such a big party is that you don’t get to speak to everybody for as long as you wanted. So again you wish it could happen everyday so that you can spend enough time with everybody there to catch up properly.

Naturally, after dinner was over, not everyone was ready to head home, it was a Saturday night after all. We tried some karaoke places in Japantown and out of Japantown, but they were either too full or too shabby. So we bought some supplies at the supermarket and had our own party at a friend’s house.
Yasu’s friends even secretly bought him a birthday cake and candles, which they surprised him with later while singing him a birthday song. That made him so happy!

The rest of the party included more catching up, lots of laughter, another Circle of Death, lots of drinking (even non-alcoholic Yasu), and lots of dancing! He told me he will always remember his 27th birthday celebration: success!

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