Lately I’ve been hassling Marcin to grow beard. When I was a teenager, it was Tom Cruise I was infatuated with, but it is now Bradley Cooper since we saw A Star is Born. What a performance it was. I’ve been listening to Shallow at least 10 times a day.

To get closer to the look of Jackson Maine (the main character in the film played by Bradley Cooper), Marcin needs to lose 5 – 8kgs. It’ll takes a while, of course, and meanwhile, I realised that there is one item that would speed up the process – a guitar. His birthday is just around the corner, so I’ve purchased a YAMAHA FG820 BS, which is designed for beginners (he’s never played a guitar). But there is less than 10% chance that it’ll make a perfect gift.

Well, Marcin is not musically talented, both instrument and singing wise. Although we live in the birthplace of karaoke, we’ve never been to a karaoke box, apart from the one time we briefly used a karaoke facility at an onsen hotel in 2018. At that time I sang most of the time and he managed to sing “That’s the way, aha, aha, I like it, aha, aha”. The whole time he was laughing at himself, with tears in his eyes.

Now, is the Yamaha FG 82 a good gift for a man like this? Perhaps not. Or probably definitely not. He’d have prefered to have gone on a trip to Mexico City via Vancouver as I previously suggested as his 2019 birthday trip. This trip would have been entirely covered by loyalty points I’ve been collecting since we moved to Japan in 2014.

In Japan, there is a good range of loyalty programs and I’m super good at collecting points. My primary programs are ANA Mileage Club, Rakuten and Marriott Bonvoy (previously called SPG), and I manage other programs in the way they contribute to the primary programs. These programs make our lives in Japan so much more fun and cost-effective, and it’s one of the reasons we don’t want to live outside Japan. Naturally I bought the guitar with Rakuten points.

I have no excuse for not booking that Mexico-Canada trip. We have enough points and a type of business that allows flexible work time. But I couldn’t resist the image of Marcin playing a guitar, with a long hair and a beard, looking like Jackson Maine, in our living room. He always says to me:

“I’ll do anything for you, my darling”

A star might be born in our living room in March 2019.