Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to Japan 3: My sisters wedding in Tokyo

My sister had her wedding ceremony when my family went back to Japan.
She was married legally last winter. She and her husband waited to have their ceremony to have my family from Seattle to participate. Their wedding ceremony was held July 11th. It was humid and very hot typical Japanese summer day. Temperature was about 93 Fahrenheit and humidity 80 percent in Tokyo. The ceremony was at “Teppozu Jinja“which is old Shinto-Shrine two blocks away from their apartment. My sister left her apartment around 9:00am to get ready. I joined her to be dressed up traditional Kimono. When I went upstairs of the shrine, my sister was dressed up white wedding Kimono. She was pretty and looked happy. Then the lady started working her hair and make up.
I have worn my Kimono when I graduate my university in Japan and my wedding reception. This is my third time. The lady used 3 or 4 cord and couple belts to dress me up Kimono. My waist was larger than typical Japanese ladies but my old Kimono still fit me and the dresser managed to dress me up nicely.
My sister and I were dressed up with layers of Kimono in the room without air conditioner. The room was cooled by two large blocks of ice and an electric fan. The ice was melting too fast and the water was overflowing from the ice bowl. The hair dressers had to stop their main job to clean up the mess. Strangely when I worn my Kimono, I didn’t feel heat although I had hard time walk or sit.
The ceremony started. It was my first time to attend Shinto wedding. In this occasion, even my two sons had to wear nice suites at their first time. The gloom and his family member and his friend sat one side and the bride and her family members and friends another in front of the altar. After the gloom and bride sipped sake three times each from a set of three cups, the both family drank a cup of sake. Then my sister joined to the gloom’s family. And so on. The ceremony was over and the picture time. It was sacred ceremony and my sister looked beautiful and happy.
After the wedding, my sister and I changed western cloths. We headed to the reception dinner at the restaurant in the tall skyscraper. We socialized with the both families and friends having full course dinner created for the wedding reception. Everyone was happy including my parents and the gloom’s parents. I am happy that my sister found her companion for life. Please view more of her wedding photos include my family. Click here to link Picassa web album.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back to Japan 2-Trains

In Japan, I often take trains mostly Japan Rail way trains. Trains are safe and very punctual. When my train was 5 minutes late due to the broken bar at the train crossing, 5 minutes delay seems like big deal. The apologetic announcement was made at the station to the passengers several times. Since many trains run so frequent, this 5 minutes delay probably affected more than 1 train schedule.
I always buy Japan Rail pass either for 1 week or 2 weeks when I go back to Japan. With this pass we can ride Shinkansen (Bullet train), local trains, JR buses and ferries as much as you like for limited days. This pass saves us money. Without JR pass, the ticket from Tokyo to Hiroshima costs about $300 round trip. 1 week pass cost about $300 and I can ride more than one round trip and local trains. I travel more places in Japan using JR pass than my friends who live in Japan.
Lastly I will tell you unfortunate side of the trains. I noticed there were gates at the platform at train stations. I heard the shocking story. My Japanese friend told me that she witnessed suicide. She thought it was strange to see a young woman sitting on the platform. At the moment when the train approached to the station, the girl jumped down to the train track. The train couldn’t stop on time. My friend was so shocked and ran away screaming. The girl was 15 years old. SAD. If the these gates were at the station, the girl may not be able to sit at the end of the platform and still alive.