On Saturday I was fortunate to attend a Japanese wedding ceremony for Paul, aka b2, one of my oldest friends from the early game playing era. Harking back over ten years, it is somewhat weird to think that one of the guys that I used to play Doom with until we could barely stand is now happily married. Scary, too.
The wedding was a multi-stage affair, somewhat like a Saturn rocket, although fortunately less explosive. We were picked up by a bus early afternoon which took our merry band to a great little Shinto temple off in a quiet little area of Shirakawa.
Unfortunately the details of what happened next are difficult to relate, as the entire ceremony was in Japanese. I suspect it was a traditional Shinto ceremony; all very nice. Sitting on the floor gets old really quickly though, especially if your aging body isn’t used to it – I think Japanese people must have the ability to do it encoded into their DNA after centuries of waiting for someone to bring over some chairs, or something (seriously, for a country that is so far ahead of the rest of the world in so many areas, they are really lacking in the furniture deparment).
The ceremony wrapped up with everyone drinking sake from little teeny saucers. Again, I useless don’t know the significance of it and have failed to ask (due in no small part to the subsequent reception and partying, details of which I will now relate, as I remember them).
After the wedding we jumped back into the minibus and ended up at a formal building for the reception. We sat around a bit and eventually were ushered into the beautifully presented reception room.
In true Japanese style, our places were prepared with an incredible amount of effort placed on presentation – you’ll need to see the photos to believe it. I did start to get worried at this point, as the first part of the meal was there – and it was mostly seafood. For those that came in late, I’m not a fan of food of the underwater variety.
Without going into too much detail about the food, it was all amazingly prepared before it was delivered to us. I’m happy to try anything – almost – once so I had a crack at just about everything that was put down in front of me, including several firsts for me such as lobster, scollops, tempura, and a bunch of other stuff I was not able to recognise. Suffice to say I survived without too many problems. The fact that every time we put down our beer glasses a helpful waiter rocked up almost instantly to fill it up again. Freely flowing beer helps remove food inhibitions as well.
The food kept on coming steadily for the next couple of hours until I was at serious risk of blow-out. We packed away as much as we could without interrupting our drinking while the wedding festivities went on around us, including the usual speeches and somewhat less usual karaoke (including a stellar performance of a Bryan Adams love song by Tristan, Brad and yours truly.
Tristan performed his best man duties with gusto, not only delivering his speech impeccably but providing the English versions of a couple of Japanese speeches as well.
The reception was great fun, but by this point the party was really only warming up. Afterwards we headed off to a post-reception pub for some more serious drinking and even more food. The beer flew freely at this new place, along with a variety of other options (including the local margaritas), which eventually lead to the traditional Japanese post-drinking pastime of Serious Karaoke.
Powered by huge amounts of food and motivated by equally vast amounts of alcohol a large troop of us headed to the karaoke bar where we proceded to butcher various classics for a couple of hours.
Afterwards we hit the local convenience store where a couple of us – optimistically, as it turned out, for we weren’t going to last much longer – bought Even More Alcohol. I was already getting some sense of what the day after was going to look like so I made do with a 1.5L bottle of water.
We made our way back to Paul’s place where there was some brief talk of continuing the party, but walking even a couple of hundred meters through the freezing cold night weather had taken its toll and we quickly started collapsing.
An awesome day, though it took most of the next day before I had recovered enough to perform simple operations like walking and talking again.