my burogu

How it's going, like.

Monday, April 23, 2007

School's back and wedding bells

I've been back at school for a couple of weeks now and all's going well so far. My new timetable has been very kind. All of my lessons are crammed together between Monday and Thursday - so I currently get Fridays off. Also – 7 out of 8 classes, I teach with the same teacher - Dejima Sensei(出島先生) So that makes planning pretty easy too. It could have been a disaster if we didn't get on - but luckily we do.

When I joined the school - It was already halfway through the school year - this means that the precedent is already set for the how the lessons work and I have to pick up on that and adjust. But now, I'm here from the start, so get things a bit more my own way.
A lot of my old students have been saying hello to me when they see me around - one lad even mimed fake tears to show me how sad he is that he doesn't have oral communication classes anymore. I'm not sure what to make of it all - The kind and friendly things they say are all very good, but if they enjoyed the lessons so much - why did they rarely do any work in class?

I went to my 1st Japanese wedding yesterday. Two of Kayo's friends from Elementary, Junior High and High School got married - Kanta and Mariko - Big Congratulations to them - or おめでとうございます as they say round these parts.
Old skool friends
It was quite interesting to compare and contrast the wedding style I'm used to in England with what I saw yesterday. So here are my top 5 similarities:

1. Lots of Emotion and tears - especially from the bride - but also from the groom, speech makers and the bride's father. The ladies were holding it together a little better - though I did spot Kayo using her hanky a couple of times.

2. Expensive. It seems no expense is spared for a good wedding party here too. Extravagent clothes, wonderful food and flowers galore.

3. A wonderfully flamboyant cake - check out this picture: Nice Cake

4. (Naturally) Everybody gets drunk.

5. The bride looks beautiful - see above photo

There are some big differences, however.

1. Presents. In Japan guests don't give presents to the bride and groom. Instead they receive a gift bag from the happy couple.In our gift bag, we got some nice smoked ham, some beer and a traditional Japanese pottery style beer/green tea cup. "Good deal" I hear you thinking, "not only do you get a feast and a piss up, but you also get a present as well". That's not quite the case - instead of giving a present to the couple, everyone makes a monetary donation - in this case 30,000Yen (£125).

2. Venues. Japan isn't a Christian country; so obviously, the majority of weddings don't happen in churches. Mariko and Kanta were married in a temple, which is the Japanese equivalent of a church, I suppose. However the actual wedding ceremony is only for the close family – most friends aren’t invited to the wedding. Everyone comes for the meal afterwards.

3. Dance. There are no 1st dance antics in Japan. In fact –there's no scope for dancing at all, really. They go to different venues throughout the evening – the afternoon reception is usually held in a swanky hotel and is where the most people are gathered – family who attended the morning ceremony along with friends, colleagues and other family members. After that the is the ni ji kai (2nd party) from about 7:30-9:30pm. This is for the younger crowd – friends and colleagues. Older family members go home at the end of the main reception. This 2nd party is held in a nice bar or izakaya – and again guests pay for an all you can eat/drink deal. After the ni ji kai is the san ji kai (3rd party). This is for whoever’s still standing. We went to a 50’s style American theme club which was a good laugh – but still no opportunity for dancing. Give me a good old fashioned cheesy disco any day.
Mariko and Kanta
4. Theatre. I'm not sure how to describe this – Before the bride and groom make their entrance at the reception a big screen dropped down and we watched a photo slide show of each of them growing up. It was very clever and a nice touch, I thought. Then Mariko and Kanta made their entrance and everyone applauded them down the aisle as they go sit alone at the front of the hall on a mini stage. It was all very theatrical – guests join them for photos and then the bride and groom make their way around the hall to have photos taken with each table. At the end of the meal – there’s a final speech from the bride’s father and the groom. Then they disappear to further applause. The screen pops down and we are shown slides and video clips from throughout the day as the credits roll. The credits in this case, are the names of all the guests.

5. No bridesmaids / best man. I thought it was little sad to see that the person responsible for helping with the bride’s dress / flowers etc was a paid employee from the hotel. Japan’s commercialism wins the day once again.
Our Table


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