Birthdays in December

天皇誕生日!

Well, yes, it’s not until 12/23, but the Emperor’s birthday will be celebrated here in Boston this Wednesday at the State House, and I’ve been invited to attend.  What do you bring for someone who has everything?  New clothes?

It couldn’t happen at a better time.  The nostalgia of Thanksgiving with its syrupy way of getting into everything on the plate is just about over: It’s turkey chili today and, basta!  And yesterday, at Russo’s, the regional version of Fairway, long corridors of Christmas trees formed a simple maze for restless boys whose parents looked for arboreal bliss.

And we know what that means.

Crown roasts, more turkey, geese, and what not in less than four weeks.  Video games, cookware, coffee table books, and sweaters.

So why not look East?  Why, not indeed?  Ironic, in part, that the presentation of the gift in Japan–box, wrapping, ribbons, colors, way paper is folded–often trumps what’s inside.

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