I once baked a chocolate cake for my Japanese teacher, on her birthday.
It was one of those instant pack ones which you crack an egg and mix everything up before chucking it into the oven.

I guess the baking came out of sympathy and boredom.
Our so-called ‘classroom’ was a subleased storeroom of a comic rental store.
Barely enough to fit an IKEA table and a whiteboard.
No windows.

I just thought it’d be quite sad to spend your birthday in a semi-prison cell with no ventilation.

To be honest I think the cake was a bit overcooked.
But she accepted it with grace.

11 years later, I call her my wife.
Who went from teaching in a storeroom to occupying the whole level of a building.

So here’s another chocolate cake.
This time made from scratch.
A bit wonky, but rich, multi-layered, bittersweet, and filled with endorphins, with room for improvement.
Just like our relationship.

Otanjoubi omedetou, mama.