Tuesday, July 25, 2006

made it back alive!

So THATS what its like to have a wedding... crazy, exciting, stressful, joyful, all at once. Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks to everyone who wasn't there but was thinking about us.

Thursday 7/13: we got in to Honolulu international with Risa and Ayumi at 7:30 am. AM I say! And yet, true to his word, spencer was there waiting for us, with Amber right behind him. Those crazy kids even had leis ready, in true hawaii fasion.
Having lunch and dinner with friends and family I hadn't seen in a long time was heartwarming. I unsuccessfully tried not to cry after meeting up with so many people, having had two full thursdays with no night in between them, and realizing my wedding was tomorrow. Very intense. But I loved being surrounded by my friends' chatter and giggles after trying to communicate to each other through a mixture of japanese and english. Also, the buffet at Willows was great. Nice choice, Spencer. I think I'll skip the poi (local aquired-taste specialty) next time though. ^_^

Friday 7/14: wedding day! due to a slight scheduling mixup, my thursday evening spa appointment was postponed until friday morning at 8 am. Spa appointment?? What? Has japan transformed me into some sort of frilly, superficial, prada-bag toting girl who needs that sort of thing? ...heh. I wish. Nah, it came with the wedding planner's package. I wasn't about to complain! So when I came back to the hotel room at about 9:30, I was already feeling like a princess and ready for my big day. The wedding was truly everything I could have hoped for. The craziest thing was the priest had only performed a wedding in english once or twice before. This guy was as white as the driven snow and had given the main bulk of his wedding ceremonies in Japanese! He was very cool and luckily for us, bilingual. The coordinator, whose name was Joanna and had green eyes, only spoke japanese and didn't speak a word of english. But she was fluent in body language, and got us all through the rehearsal without any problem.

I was completely ready, not even a hint of teary eyes outside of the chapel doors... until a lady started singing. I didn't know she was going to be there. I was taken completely by surprise. It was a beautiful song. And suddenly, I saw everyone, looking at us, and ... heh, what a big crybaby. I cried through the whole thing. Thank god for waterproof mascara! But as I inspect the video, I saw a lot of misty-eyed viewers in the audience, so at least I wasn't the only one. ^_^

The reception dinner at the New Otani was amazing, they kept bringing out plate after plate of beautiful dishes. Takeshi kept giving me incredulous glances as weird american customs emerged one after another: first the tinging of the glasses meant WHAT? we have to KISS in ..*gasp*.. PUBLIC? and then even I was surprised as I had never seen a cake cut at a wedding and had never heard of the whole.. ya know. feeding each other by hand and smooshing the cake in each others faces thing. I think we dissapointed everybody by very politely and neatly hand-feeding each other one small bite.

When I threw the bouquet, many of my cute single girlfriends came to be beforehand and mentioned they had no intention of being the next one to be married, so I had imagined a massive stampede of girls trying to flee as the bouquet targeted one of them like a tiger selects a slow and tasty-looking gazelle. True to predator form, it chose the youngest of the pack...my bouquet landed in the hands of my 16 year old sister. (!!)

The guys were shouting "what about the garter? Throw the garter!!" but unfortunately for them I had forgotten all about that tradition and thoughtlessly forgotted to wear one that day. Ah well, it's probably for the best, as Takeshi turned rather pink and mumbled to me..."they want you to throw your...WHAT?? That it for me ONLY!" ^^

The next day was adventure day. There were exactly the right ratio of cars to people to get us all up to Diamond Head legally. All except me that is, who ended up sitting in the leg-space of the shotgun passenger's side in Jess's rent-a-car. Every now and then someone would yell "It's a cop! Duck!!!". causing me to panic and curl up into a ball. The first two times I beleived them to be genuinely concerned, but a few muffled giggles later I began to get suspicious. ^_~

The view from the top of diamond head was worth the hike. Which should give you an idea of how amazing it was, since we climbed a mile straight uphill and about ten flights of stairs with no breeze and the sun beating down on us the whole time to get there. But at the top you could see all of waikiki and most of Oahu and its spectacular beaches, and I've never seen those shades of blue before in real life. Another tourist caught me up in conversation, asking what we were going to do next.
"Well, we're thinking of going snorkeling in Hanauma bay, I heard you can see lots of fish and maybe even turtles there." She looked at me with a mixture of amusement and pity. "Ha! you're going NOW? We went yesterday at 6 in the morning and had the place to ourselves, but when we were leaving at 10, the lot was full and the line was two hours long. You may want to rethink your plans... !" Well, I certainly felt foolish, since I didn't really have a backup plan.

In the afternoon we went to hanauma bay after all, despite countless warnings that it would be unbelievably crowded. "Well," we thought, "let's just cruise by the parking area and take a look." Hm, interesting, the LOT FULL sign was off to the side, clearly not in use. We went in, and upon closer inspection, there was hardly anyone there at all! They had lied to us! There were no lines! We felt like we had stumbled upon a well-kept secret. In the morning the bay is crowded, perhaps, but in the afternoon, most of the people from the morning have gone home and the rest had given up hope of getting in at all. Hee hee hee muahahaha! I saw a sea turtle, and dad saw a wild mongoose. good times. After that, Amber and her kindhearted family invited the entire wedding party over for a barbeque. They had a large house and a lot of sons, the youngest of which enticed about 20 people to play the largest poker game I've ever seen. When it was getting late, we 21+ year-olds decided to try to absorb little night life. After rejecting a sleezy karaoke bar, we went downtown to a bar called "the big kahuna" which we went into because they kindly accepted risa and ayumi's drivers licences as ID even though they say their date of birth in emperor years. "Wow, you were born in '57? You japanese ladies age AMAZINGLY well!" the bouncer chuckled flirtingly and waved them in. Allen later complained to me "hey, that's the bar I recommended to them the night before but they wouldn't go to with me!! Not fair!"
So, ladies, just know that allen is very dissapointed in you.

I want to describe our whole amazing honeymoon, but i don't want to bore you with the details. Just know that our super friendly, funny, sweet, generous, goodlooking, adventurous, single male in his early twenties friend Allen took us all around the big island ^_~ Poor guy, we had no idea it was such a huge place. It took about six hours to cirle it, so we broke it up into a two day trip, one for beach and countryside and rainforest viewing, and one for volcano watching! We didn't actually see hot lava, but we saw old cooled lava beds during the day, and at night we saw three large red smoke clouds from a distance from where the lava was hitting the sea. That plus the moonless, cloudless night offered a breathtaking view of the milky way. *~_~* I already want to go back to hawaii...

It was great to see so many friends in one place at the same fabulous location. I think Takeshi and I should have many more weddings, in cool places around the globe every few years, and invite you all again. ^_^ Good idea, right?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

One Week!

Until my wedding. Holy camoley. I think I've gotten everything planned and ready, but there's always a sinking feeling in the back of my mind that I'll forget something important.

I got a list from the wedding planner of stuff not to forget, but some of it is crazy that I haven't even thought about and have no idea where to get it. Like "ring pillow". Where the heck do you get a ring pillow?! *skakes head*. Oh well, at least the really big stuff is already there waiting for us.

Takeshi's mom is organizing a wedding party in Japan for us, to take place on a weekend in october, and apparently about a hundred people are coming. I can't help but feel very detatched from it, since I'm putting all of my effort into organizing this hawaii one. I don't even know anyone from the enormous guest list for the party in October: Takeshi's elementary school teachers are coming. The entire Shinkai clan are coming. Takeshi's dad's coworkers are coming. Somehow I find myself wondering if I was invited, and if it's possible to say 'I can't make it!' ... >_<;

Haha, guess that's probably not a good way to get myself welcomed into my new japanese family. At least there's an upside to it: I get to wear a lovely kimono that belongs to Mrs Shinkai. She only wore it once for her wedding. Tee hee.

But anyways, I believe it is high time for another gallery of pictures from my phone! This months' theme is....*drumroll please*: the color pink.
Somehow over the past year, I've started associating Japan with a bright, hot pink. And this color is not just for girls anymore.

A very manly, hot-pink, polka dotted power shovel. Only in Japan!
Revenge of the toe socks... tabi-socks! just the big toe is separated.
If you've ever been to the "Giant Robo" store in Los Angeles on Sawtelle, you've probably seen a Gloomy bear. They're little stuffed teddy bears.. that happen to be evil incarnate. They have enormous claws, and if you're lucky, you can even get one with blood coming from its mouth! Here's a 'crane game' machine (called UFO catchers here) for catching enormous evil teddy bears for use as pillows. *shudder*.
Julia's bookAnd last but not least, my friend Julia wrote a book on making costumes for conventions and such. Check it out!
These are just some random, low-quality pictures, but I've put a bunch of scenery pictures from the countryside (hiking and camping, etc) up on Flickr. Let me know if you have a flickr account so I can see your pictures ^^ hee hee.

Okay, that's it for a bit. Wish me luck in hawaii!! Woo hoo! ^_^