On the Plane

More About the Presidential Birthday

By Michael Abramowitz

RUSUTSU, Japan -- Information keeps flowing in about the continuing celebrations of President Bush's 62nd birthday.

At his private dinner Sunday with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Bush was presented with a windbreaker and a birthday cake in the shape of a baseball park. He also received a traditional Japanese "Daruma" doll, a round and hollow armless figure with white eyes, according to Kazuo Kodama, the press secretary for the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The president was invited to fill in one of the eyes with black ink and make a wish, Kodama said. According to tradition, the recipient fills in the other eye when the wish is realized. Kodama said he does not know what the president wished for, but he did say that Bush told the prime minister that when he was young, he "thought the age of 62 was quite old" -- though he said he doesn't feel that way now.

There is some indication that Bush may be tiring of the constant emphasis on his birthday, which was Sunday and was also celebrated at the White House on Friday and by his staff on the flight to Japan.

At their joint news appearance Monday, new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also gave his best wishes. "The other thing which is also important is that I congratulated George on his birthday, which is also a very important thing, irrespective of summits out there," he said.

"Everybody has a birthday," Bush interjected, before calling on reporters to ask a question.

Meanwhile, Bush is receiving a crash course in Japanese cultural traditions. Before dinner Monday night, he and other world leaders offered wishes that were hung from a bamboo tree in the hotel where the summit is taking place. It is one of the ways the Japanese celebrate the July 7 Tanabata festival.

According to the White House, Bush wrote: "I wish for a world free from tyranny: the tyranny of hunger, disease and free from tyrannical governments. I wish for a world in which the universal desire for liberty is realized. I wish for the advance of new technologies that will improve the human condition and protect our environment. I wish God's blessings on all. George W. Bush."

After the tree ceremony, Bush and the other Group of Eight leaders stepped outside the hotel for entertainment, which took place in heavy mist and fog for about 25 minutes. It featured Japanese lanterns with messages of peace and love. Candles were made from vegetable derivatives and other eco-friendly materials, an announcer said, in keeping with a ecological theme of this year's summit. The entertainment included about 200 dancers in colorful costumes and Japanese fireworks shot from bamboo tubes. Bush, the other G-8 leaders and their spouses stood under umbrellas and offered polite applause.

By Chris Stanford |  July 7, 2008; 11:06 PM ET  | Trip:  Bush at G-8, July 2008
Previous: Obama-McCain Rivalry Reaches Around the World | Next: Sit-down With Bush on Air Force One

Comments

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I think President Bush has to re-run for his third-term. Bush is the only politician who is doing the right thing.

Neither McCain nor Obama has any clue why Bush is visiting China and Japan; neither of them is qualified to talk about the Iraq War or even how to protect America from the threats of terrorists.

McCain argues that Russia has to be excluded from G-8; Obama said he would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months. We all remember what he said; to whom he was speaking, yet he keeps changing his words.

Age does not matter: Passion matters.

No matter how old s/he is, the next president of the United States should be the one who defends America as well as who shares American Values with the rest of the world.

Posted by: Premier | July 8, 2008 9:13 AM

My thoughts on a third Bush term? Blarrrrrrph !

Posted by: Blarrrrrph | July 8, 2008 11:22 AM

The pilot should have given the world a present on numb-nuts 62nd birthday and flown the plane into the side of a mountain.

Posted by: pj451 | July 8, 2008 11:45 AM

Happy Birthday President Bush. Keep on keeping on. Thank you for sticking to your guns in your beliefs and for not taking the "flack and lies" from the liberal media and congress and for them "brainwashing" the American people. For those Americans that have believed all their garbage, their day will come and they will truly be sorry for the disrespect they have given you. Many blessings to you and yours.

Posted by: Sherri | July 8, 2008 11:46 AM

Who cares what this dysfunctional cretin did on his birthday? In his 7 1/2 years of "rule", he has managed to ruin the USA and create extreme disorder in the world. Hopefully, we won't have to pay for his next birthday trip.

Posted by: Connie Niehus | July 8, 2008 12:24 PM

A third term for Bush? Personally, I'd just like to see him serve the term a War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague would lay on his criminal butt if they were given the chance.

Posted by: soonipi6 | July 8, 2008 12:44 PM

Let's file this story under the "Who gives a flying crap" category.

Posted by: Z | July 8, 2008 1:52 PM

It's a good thing that Japan remembered Bush's birthday because America doesn't give a hoot. I don't recall a single story in the MSM about it. I'll betcha America knows whose birthday is August 4.

Posted by: Hollyinla | July 8, 2008 3:48 PM

why does president Bush need a windbreaker?

He IS a windbreaker.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 8, 2008 4:13 PM

pj451 comment totaly in-appropriate. whether you support or not W's positions or even dislike him doesn't warrant a foolish a comment

Posted by: SKK | July 8, 2008 5:29 PM

wasingtan dg

Posted by: beakale | August 17, 2008 2:35 PM

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