Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wadakura Fountain Park & the Imperial Palace / 和田蔵噴水公園と皇居

And our walk continues from the Shin Marunouchi Building to the Wadakura Fountain Park and the Imperial Palace. It was still hot and humid and I thought the fountain would make us cooler - it didn't. But enjoy these pictures and short video clip.

散歩が皇居外延の和田蔵噴水公園につづきました。外はまだ暑くて、噴水の近くで涼しくなるのかなと思ったら、涼しくなりませんでした。でも写真と動画を楽しんで見て下さい。








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Mikako appears briefly at near the end of the clip.



















The Imperial Palace surroundings
















One of Japan's top tourist spots - the bridge that leads to the Imperial Castle. You can find postcards of the bridge all over the place.


Main gate to the Imperial Palace. If I remember right, it's opened to the public on New Year's Day and on the Emperor's Birthday.


Mikako is actually featured in this picture. She's sitting in front of all those trees.




And before heading home, I took a picture of the Tokyo Tower.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tokyo Station and the Shin Marunouchi Building / 東京駅と新丸ビル

After our friend's wedding, Jun stayed with us for one more evening. He was catching the noon train back to Aomori. We saw Jun off at Tokyo station and decided to walk around the station, as it was too hot and humid to go on one of our regular walks. The Shin Maru Building is located close to the station so we thought we do a little window shopping and walk around there as well.

友達の結婚式が無事終わって、義理の弟も月曜の昼の電車で青森に帰って、その後、私たちは東京駅内と新丸ビルで散歩する事にしました。外が蒸し暑くって、駅とビルの中の散歩なら紫外線やら暑さは心配はいりません。

But before I share my walk with you, here is a picture of the Hayate Super Express for any of you train buffs out there and a picture of me and Mikako with Jun.

散歩の話の前に、電車オタクがいれば、下記の写真は八戸行きはやて新幹線です。あとは潤君との写真です。






















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Jun's train to Hachinohe and back to Aomori.

Inside Tokyo Station, my brother will be happy to know there is still an Ultraman shop. There is also shops for the popular television networks where you can buy character goods from the different shows. There is a store selling Studio Ghibli products. There is the Tomika store which specializes in mini cars. There was also an Avex label store (popular label for J-Pop artists) where they had outfits of the different artists on display (but taking pictures of the outfits wasn't allowed.)

僕の兄貴が喜ぶ事に東京駅の中にウルトラマンの専門店がある。キャラクタ・ストリートにテレビ局の店もありまして:NHK, TBS, 日テレ、テレ朝、テレビ局の番組のグッズをいっぱい販売してます。他にトミカの店もあったし、Avexレーベルの店もありました。Avexの店に所属されてるアーティストの衣装が展示されてました、Boa, Hitomi, 浜崎あゆみ、等。でも衣装の写真撮影はNGでした。

I had to take pictures of Ultra Seven and Ultraman:


Ultra Seven





















Ultraman
















Tokyo Station

The Shin Maru Building / 新丸ビル

Inside the Shin Marunouchi Building are shops, shops, and more shops, from the basement to the 6th floor. The floors above that are office space. The dessert shops looked pretty enticing as well as the bread buffet shop. Floors 6 and 7 are full of restaurants. The picture of the spareribs on a menu for a restaurant called "So Tired" looked so appetizing we decided to give it a taste. Unfortunately, the restaurant was only serving items off of their lunch menu and the spare ribs weren't on it. So instead, we split a pepper steak and some shouronpou (Chinese dumpling-like dish).

新丸ビルの中は店がいっぱいです。地下1階から6階まで。その上はオフィスになります。近1階から4階はショッピングゾーン。5階と6階はレストランゾーン。「So Tired」とゆう店のメニューのスペアリブが美味しそうに見えたので、その店に入りました。でもランチメニューのみでスペアリブは載ってませんでした。とりあず美香子と二人でペッパステーキ一つと小籠包を食べました。


















After eating, we walked outside and headed towards the Wadakura Fountain Park and the Imperial Palace but I'll save that for another time.

食べた後に皇居と和田蔵噴水公園に行きました、でもそれはまた別の日に紹介します。

Monday, July 28, 2008

Holy Matrimony (Part 5) Reception after the Reception / 結婚式 (パート5)二次会

With the formalities of the wedding ceremony and the reception being over, next on the agenda is the nijikai. Now, this is what an American would expect at the reception. Very informal, mostly a party for friends without the parents and relatives. Ken and Yukino's nijikai was held at a place called Tamariba in Shinagawa, which started at 7:00pm and lasted for another couple of hours. The bride and groom had another change of clothes, and their was a buffet, a drink bar, and a bingo game. The prizes given away were a gift certificates for Matsuzaka Beef, a voucher for Aesthetics, and gift certificates for a course meal at Ken and Yukino's restaurant, Kitamachi Utou which is located in a place called Ushigome Kagurazaka.


結婚式と披露宴が終わると、次あるのは二次会。二次会のほうはアメリカの結婚式の披露宴みたいな感じで、友達同士のパーティーの様な感じです。健とゆきちゃんの二次会は品川にある「たまり場」のレストランで行われました。夜七時から始まって、二時間位つづきました。新郎新婦がまたまた着替えて、二次会の場所に登場しました。おつまみもバイキング風で、酒も飲み放題。ビンゴもやりました。景品は松坂牛のギフト券、エステイのギフト券、健とゆきちゃんの店「北町善知鳥」のコース券、とか結構豪華な物いっぱいです。うちは当たりませんでした!

Ken is looking like a gangster in his white suit and shades.



The Big Kiss


The Garter Belt Throwing.

To Ken and Yukino - we wish you a long and happy marriage.

健とゆきちゃんへ、末長くお幸せに!

Short break from wedding posts / 結婚式のポストから一旦休憩

Another interesting drink that my father would probably enjoy. It was quite tasty by the way.

またコンビニで面白そうな飲み物を発見しました。私のお父さんも多分気に入ると思う。結構美味しかった。

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Holy Matrimony (Part 4) Reception Con't / 結婚式 (パート4) 披露宴のつづき

Ken and Yukino



In the back (Left to Right) : Me, Tetsu, Gu-san. Front (L to R) : Nakamoto and Ken



From the left: Tetsu, Nakamoto, 21ban, Me, Mikako with Ken sitting.



Me, Nori, Mikako, and Ken

And a couple more differences between an Occidental style Japanese wedding and an American wedding. I already mentioned the cutting of the cake to be different. Other differences are some of the formalities associated with a traditional Japanese wedding. The wedding toast is the same but there is the oiro-naoshi (directly translates to "change of color" meaning a change of clothes), There is a yujin-daihyo aisastsu from a good friend (this would be like the Best Man's speech), a few words from work colleagues, a few skits from family and friends, and finally the bride will read a letter of appreciation to her parents (I can't imagine any of my American friends doing that!).


まだまだアメリカ式と日本の西洋風式の違いがあります。ケーキの入刀はもう言いましたが、乾杯の挨拶も一緒ですが、他にお色直し、友人代表の挨拶(これはアメリカにもあり、ベスト・マン、友人代表の事ですね)、仕事関係の先輩やら上司とかのスピーチ、友人達と親戚が送る喜びの歌とかコント。で最後に新婦が両親への感謝の手紙を読み上げる。(僕のアメリカの友達なら、最後の事はあり得ない。ま、文化の違いかもね)。


The re-entrance to the reception hall after the iro-naoshi.

The new bride and groom would greet each table before heading back to the main table.



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The Wedding Toast



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The re-entrance of the bride and groom after the iro-naoshi.



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Ken and Yukino's former co-workers.



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Ken's nieces performing the Nebuta Music of Aomori


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Yukio and friend performing the "jump dance" of Aomori's Nebuta Festival


I tried posting Yukio's speech, but it appears the video clip was too long and kept causing an error on this blog so I unfortunately for Yukio, he will not be able to see himself giving his speech (on this blog anyway).

友人代表の幸男のスピーチの動画も載せようとしましたが、エラになるので、載せる諦めました。幸男に申し訳ないですが、こちらのブログでは彼のスピーチを観る事は不可能です。

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Holy Matrimony (Part 3) Reception Dinner / 結婚式 (パート3)披露宴の食事

Isn't the menu cute. I will try to translate the actual menu as best as I can. We were served an eleven course meal (don't be surprised), as we were served a one dish at a time.

メニューも可愛いですね。日本語が書いてありますので、そちをご覧下さい。

Tofu made with broad beans with citron miso, shrimp, salmon (the rose in the middle), and seasonal vegetables.


A light soup, with crab, shimeji mushrooms, and a bit of melon.

Sashimi of maguro, sea bream, and shrimp

Hiryuzu or hirosu which is tofu made with various ingredients and fried in oil, shrimp, okra, octopus, and shark fin.


Select beef with miso sauce.

Wild duck with green tea soba.


Grilled king crab, Japanese honeywort with chestnuts and ginger.

Rice cooked with scallops with miso soup and assorted pickles.
And finally, my father's favorite - a dessert buffet. Here were a few of the dishes available.






Friday, July 25, 2008

Holy Matrimony (Part 2) The Reception / 結婚式 (パート2)披露宴

The reception was also held at Happo-En. Here is where you really see the difference between an Occidental style Japanese wedding and a real American wedding reception. I know most of my friends back in the States would associate reception with party and free booze. Although the flow of alcohol is the same, there is definitely no party atmosphere. In Japan, there will be an emcee to host the reception (no, I'm not kidding!). Family and friends will be seated at the table before the bride and groom enter. But before that, there was another photo opportunity for everybody.

披露宴も八芳園で行われた。ここで日本の西洋風と完全なアメリカ式の違いが分かる。アメリカの友達なら、披露宴イコールパーティーとただ酒が飲める。酒飲みは一緒ですが、パーティーの雰囲気ではないですね。日本なら、かならず司会者が居る。新郎新婦が登場する前に皆が先に席で座って待ってる。でもその前にまた写真撮影のチャンス。

Once everyone is settled at their assigned tables, the emcee will announce the bride and groom's entrance. They will be led to the main table and the groom will give a short annoucement thanking everyone for coming to celebrate their wedding. But I just had to share with you the my place setting card.


皆が座って落ち着いた時に、司会者が新郎新婦の登場をアナウスします。


Oops, my name was spelled wrong at a different wedding as well.


友達のせいじゃないですが、また自分の名前の綴りが間違えってる。







Check out the wedding cake, it's huge!

ケーキも見て、デッカイです。


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Here we find the emcee introducing the newlyweds.



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This is Ken giving his welcoming speech.

Next we have a picture of Ken and Yukino cutting into their wedding cake.

次の写真はケーキの入刀です。

Another difference is the cutting of the wedding cake. As you can see, this is mostly done as a formality and the cake is not eaten. And this is before the reception meal is served. In the States, we would have the meal followed by the cutting of the wedding cake. Aren't these little details interesting? I cannot guarantee if all Occidental style weddings are like this though.

またアメリカ式と違うのはケーキの入刀ですね。日本は、食事を食べる前にします。全部がこうゆう形とは限りませんけど、アメリカとの違いは面白いですね。


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If you're wondering why Ken is laughing near the end of this clip, his friend Yukio was standing near and showing Ken and his new bride a picture of Ken from his junior high school yearbook that he has uploaded into his cell phone.

健がこの動画の最後に何で笑っているのかは、健の友達幸男が携帯で健の中学校卒業アルバムの写真を携帯で撮り、それを前に出て行って健に見せていたからです。

The wedding posts will continue. Next, everyone's favorite - the meal.

結婚式のポストがつづきます。次は皆が期待するもの‐食事です。

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Holy Matrimony (Part 1) / 友達の結婚式 (パート1)

This is our friend Ken with his new bride Yuki-chan (and yes, I have his permission to post pictures of their wedding that I took.) I've known Ken for a few years but little did I know that he was also one of Mikako's childhood friends. They've known each other since the fourth grade. Ken is also good friends with Jun who is married to Mikako's sister which makes Jun my brother-in-law. Jun came to Tokyo from Aomori for Ken's wedding and stayed at our apartment for two nights.

紹介します。彼は私たちの友達の健ちゃんと嫁のゆきちゃん(健の許可を得て、僕が撮った写真をポストしてます)。僕は健ちゃんと六、七年位の付き合いですが、彼は美香子の幼馴染です。二人は小学4年生から知っている。美香子の妹の旦那潤も古い付き合いで、潤が健ちゃんの結婚式の為青森から東京に来て、家に二泊しました。

The wedding was held at a place called Happo-En in Meguro. I learned that this place is quite popular for weddings and also saw that along with Ken and Yuki, there was about 25 other couples tying the knot on this particular Sunday. The service was to start at 11:00am in the Garden Chapel. We were meeting some friends at 9:30 and was at the wedding hall an hour early. Just before 11:00am, we were led to the Garden Chapel. Ken and Yuki's wedding was not the traditional Japanese wedding you may imagine as Yuki was dressed in a beautiful white wedding gown (and not a kimono). Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside the chapel. However, this being Japan, there is a time and place for everything, including taking pictures of the bride and groom.

結婚式の会場は白金台にある八芳園。人気の高い場所で、健とゆきちゃん以外に25組位のカップルが今日ここで式をあげてる。健とゆきちゃんのが八芳園のガーデンチャペルで11:00amに始まる予定。朝の九時半に友達と合流して、式場に一時間早く着きました。時間が近づくと、チャペルに行き、新郎、新婦の登場を待ってました。西洋風の式でした。ゆきちゃんの白いウェディングガウンの姿はとっても美しかった。残念ながら、チャペルの中の写真撮影は禁じられてました。でもここは日本。ちゃんと写真が撮れる時間と場所はありました。

The ceremony started off with a Prelud, followed by the Wedding Processional. Next, Hymn 312 was sung (in Japanese of course) "What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilige to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." The priest then said a prayer from Numbers 6:24-26 "The LORD bless you and keep youy; the LORD make his face shine upon you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

This was followed by a Message, then the Exchange of Vows, the Declaration of Marriage, the Benediction, and the Recessional.

式の順番は奏楽、入場、賛美歌 (312番一同)「いつくしみ深き。。。」から始まるやつ。、聖書朗読、祈り (旧約聖書 民数記 6章 24節‐26節)、式辞、誓約、宣言、祝祷、退場。

The following pictures are of the Recessional and a photo opportunity for everybody.

下記の写真はチャペルを出た後と写真撮影の時間。





And a picture of our little gang with Ken and Yukino.

最後の写真は私たちと一緒


The reception will continue on the next post.
次のポストは披露宴。