I am very sorry that I am missing a big chance of attending your birthday party, but I sincerely and heartily congratulate you on your 90th birthday.
I haven’t had a chance to appreciate your teaching, but I always greatly appreciate it and I am also always much obliged to you for your thoughtful consideration and patience you showed to me when I was your student. Without it, I would not have been able to finish my thesis and graduate. I was extremely lucky to be your student.
Most of all, I learned a lot from the meetings with you. I remember the first meeting with you. From the beginning of the meeting, you strongly disagreed with what I tried to argue for: You said, “You might be right, but you can’t be right for this reason, and . . .” While I tried to make you convinced of my argument, we almost fought. Thus, after the meeting, I felt regret, thinking you may think I am a very arrogant student. On reflection, it was like an ignorant person who doesn’t stand in awe of the great (as a proverb goes). At the second meeting, the atmosphere was much better but you still disagreed with me. During the subsequent meetings I had with you, at some point, I started to learn how to think differently: to think from a wider and deeper perspective.
Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful celebration party.
All the best,