On July 29th I celebrated my 60th birthday (one day early). No big deal for me – just another year, but here in Japan the completion of 60 years of life is a major milestone.

Kanreki is based on the 12-year cycles of the Chinese Zodiac. Each year is represented by an animal. The cycle starts with The Year of the Rat, continues with The Year of the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and finally this, the Year of the Wild Pig.

This cycle is repeated five times to form one complete cycle. They say that a man has completed one full life cycle when he reaches the age of 60. He then starts anew like a brand new baby.

So my wife threw a “Baby shower” for me at Maitre D’s Sunday afternoon and evening. After seeing the turnout -106 men, women and children – I think I should take the occasion more seriously. My wife, Kayoko, with some help from family and friends, prepared a feast for the army of guests.

We were entertained by my sister Lennelle and her brilliant jazz band with guest appearances by Iwa the Bassman and Afro-pops masters Wassi and Nanao.

I was really thrilled to have our sons Anrei and Ashton there. They flew in from New York, primarily for the event. Anrei did his professional photographer thing (photos, more photos) and Ashton showed off his bartending skills.

I owe a lot of thanks to all the good friends who came bearing gifts and wearing smiles.

And me? All I did was act like one big, happy baby.

Thank you