Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Japan: End of week 1

We had pizza for lunch the other day. If you think, "wow, they have American food" think again. Here is some shrimp, scallop, seaweed, and mochi pizza. It's pretty good, but it doesn't taste like pizza. Also this is a medium, but it's practically the size of an individual pan pizza in America.

We went to a wedding reception of one of Keiko's friends. She was married to a Korean. They met at BYU Hawaii and speak English to each other, so as of now, they still can't talk to each other's parents very well. They had a similar sort of setup to our wedding reception, except much bigger.
The groom, bride, and Chiemi

They had a traditional koto performance, among other traditional Japanese arts

We went to visit Keiko's grandmother. It is a bit of a drive. As long as we were out that far, we went to a sushi place famous for having gigantic sashimi. It's like 4 times the size of normal sushi, and it tastes great. You can pick out the fish you want to eat too. It's on these big wood planks so that you can cut the sushi since you can't eat it in big bites like other sushi.

Keiko's friends through us a wedding party. They got a us a cake and had decoration and had quite a big bash, with sushi and other various Japanese dishes. She has a group of 6 girls that were hired for there first job out of school. They have remained best friends since. I was impressed that they were all able to gather from different parts of japan they live in now, mainly because some of them have kids now. Keiko really had a great time.

Christmas in Japan: Japanese style Pics

On Christmas day, we spent the day going to a fancy studio for formal Japanese wedding photos. We have a total of 17 pictures that we bought, but were only able to receive 1 for now. In 1 month, Keiko will surely put them on her blog or facebook or something. But here is a preview.

Christmas in Japan: Christmas

Here is our Christmas Tree. I think it is actually Keiko's, but can't really take it to America. This is the most presents under the tree in the history of the Furushima family christmas.

The world's largest Hershey's kiss, a present to Keiko's father (and family).

It ended up turning into this: Golden Graham Treats. Chiemi, her little sister, has developed a taste for rice krispie treats so I thought I would try another cereal for her.

Chiemi and I worked hard on the puzzle that Juri gave us, it's a picture of the wedding in June.

Opening presents too about 10 minutes. It was the first time they opened one at a time. We did it Jones-family style, starting youngest and going to the oldest. We started at 6:30am or so, and were done before 7am, by far the fastest present opening I've ever done.

Christmas in Japan: Day 1-2, The wedding reception

We left for Japan on a rather cold day, in fact it was -12 F, and a rather windy day making it -31 F with wind chill. But we left prepared.

The wind made our flight a little late. It took maintenance a bit of extra time just because it was so cold, no snow or anything, just -30 degree weather. So by the time we made it to Tokyo, all the flights to Hiroshima had left. We were in a bit of trouble since all the arrangements had been made for the wedding reception were for 12pm the next day. I was just glad to have made it out of Chicago. Anyhow, we ended up sleeping in the Tokyo airport and left at 7am, the first flight out to Hiroshima. For some reason, it was a bigger deal in japan. We had to sign forms with our passport numbers and provide evidence that we had early flights, otherwise they kick everyone out of the airport. It actually closes down from 12pm-5am or so. I managed to to sleep 2-3 hours before the place opened up and we got ready for our flight.

We got in Hiroshima just in time to shower and get ready.

The hotel was all ready for us. They had fancy little signs pointing the way to Jeff and Keiko's wedding reception, and if you look below, you should be able to catch the only English word.

Japanese wedding receptions are pretty different from the American ones I have been to. They are much more formal. The only ones I have been to: you show up, you talk to the bride and groom, eat a little, and your on your way. In Japan, they have a program all prepared. Every word is written out. There is a specific start and end time and everyone is there for the whole thing. Everyone had an assigned seat.

It started off with a toast and then introductions of everyone. Keiko's 2 sisters, her sister's family of 5, and all 12 or so aunts and uncles were there. One of her uncle's sang a traditional Japanese style of singing (2 pics below) called UTAI. It was really cool as I had only seen it on tv before. This uncle taught this style of singing for 20-30 years.

We did the cutting of the cake, which is done in Japan as often as it is in the US.

This is Keiko, her little sister, and her older sister and husband.

With Keiko's parents
With Keiko's 3 nieces and nephews


The Whole Crowd

Picture of everyone at their tables

We ate a 10-course meal with all sorts of raw fish and traditional Japanese dishes. Many of them had red and white, which are colors that are meant to celebrate. The songs that were sung to us were meant for celebration. There was a karaoke machine that filled the middle of the meal. I was sort of pressured to sing one at the beginning (I sang a Christmas song). It ended with a small speech by myself.