I think the buzzword for January and February must have been marriage, because it seemed like everyone around me was talking about it, either around here or just people I still keep in touch with over the net. People getting married, people talking about getting married, people talking about planning to talk about getting married, etc. I don’t know what the deal was. It was with my friends both in the US and Japan, so maybe it’s just getting around that time. Kind of freaky. And of course Facebook has always been like this, seeing who from high school is now married, but it’s just about at the point where people’s newest picture albums are of their newborn kids. I never would have thought Facebook would have been around this long.
The buzzword has of course changed, everyone now talking about work. Either enjoying their job, hating their job, quitting their job, getting fired, or looking for a new job, it’s everywhere. I guess everyone needs to work to pay for those weddings. (I am half joking there). I suppose the global recession and all that fun stuff is partially to blame, since I know a lot of people who have gotten laid off or had their hours cut down a lot. But for me, work has been good the last few weeks. I attended the Foodex convention in Makuhari for about a week, used InDesign for the first time in probably 3 or 4 years, and have been feeling pretty satisfied with my mini-accomplishments for now.
Back to weddings, even though I know it’s the old buzzword now. I went to my first Japanese wedding on February 22nd, which was really fun and an interesting experience. My friend Konosuke got married and was nice enough to invite me. It was even a traditional Japanese Shinto-style wedding as opposed to a Western-style church wedding, which are really popular here. It isn’t because people here are Christians, but it’s just because people think they’re cool. Kind of like why they have Engrish t-shirts. I think Shinto weddings are less common than church ones these days maybe in Japan. First there was the formal Shinto ceremony in a shrine where there were many chants chanted, many sets of bowing, and the 三三九度 (San-san-ku-do, 3-3-9 times) ritual where the bride and groom drink from 9 small cups of sake to represent family and stuff like that. They did rings and there was more chanting, and it was official. It seemed like a very quick ceremony probably lasting less than 30 minutes.
Cracking open a big barrel of sake for the reception.
After the ceremony we all headed back to the big building/memorial hall for the formal reception which was a really fancy dinner interspersed with long speeches. The bride and groom changed costumes before the reception and then again during the reception, going from super formal Japanese wedding ceremony clothes to formal Japanese wedding clothes to formal Western wedding clothes. It was pretty awesome when they came back from changing clothes during the reception, because they made a really dramatic entrance from the balcony. The lights went low, music started, and the MC announced their return. Junko was in a Western style wedding dress and Konosuke was in a tuxedo minus the overcoat with… a parachute on? No, it wasn’t a parachute, it was actually a beer keg backpack. (see pic on the left) He went around to every table and filled up pitchers with his backpack of beer. The whole day was pretty formal so this was a cool addition. After the reception we went to a second party at a small club-type place in Shibuya, which was also pretty nice and a lot more relaxed.
Insomnia. I don’t really have insomnia, just a really messed up sleep schedule. One of the sweet yet dangerous parts of working flexitime from your home is staying up super late and then waking up in the afternoon, only to repeat the next night. I think it really got bad last Thursday night when I was working on designing some sales materials, and to communicate with the US and everything I started working again around 2 or 3AM. It was easier this way because I wouldn’t have to wait hours to get a response about whether something looked good, etc. I ended up working until about 9AM, which was pretty rough but then I passed out until it was almost dark outside again. There’s always something embarrassing about doing that. Anyway ever since then I’ve been going to sleep way too late and pretty much keeping my schedule permanently messed up. For example, why am I still awake right now?