Tied the knot!

24 12 2009

So, firstly, apologies for not writing on here for a while. Rie and myself were insanly busy up until Friday night (the 18th) preparing everything for our wedding that took place on Sunday the 20th. The preparation itself was immense and Rie was amazing. I did as much as I could and we had help from the planners at Petit Wedding, but it was still A LOT OF WORK.

For those of you who are married then you’ll know what I am talking about. For those who haven’t tied the knot yet, then let me warn you of how much work is ahead. A LOT! But it’s all worth it. Rie and I made a lot of things for the wedding, which of course saves money, but not time. However this does allow for something unique and personal.

How about the day itself ?

Well, I woke at 7:15 to the sound of my Dad calling me from the UK on my mobile. It was a nice moment, and I was happy he called. Luckily, I prepared everything the night before, and Rie had taken most of the stuff to her parents as she was going by car. My brother and his wife, rang me too, just before I left, which was really cool (thanks guys!) and it was nice to hear their suppport.

On the train from Nishi Funabashi to Odaiba, I had one of those blissful moments when you know everything is going to be okay. I was listening to the album “Takk” by Sigur Ros, when across Tokyo and against the clear blue sky I could see Mount Fuji. I have never seen this, because usually the “smog” affects the view, so I felt this calm come over me and felt truely blessed.

At Odaiba, I had to use my Japanese to negoiate my way into the building, as it didn’t open until 11am (I arrived around 10). This went well, and I think Rie’s parents were surprised to see me when I appeared from behind a curtain like a Magician in Vegas.

Of course I didn’t see Rie, until I was fully dressed and she looked absolutely beautiful. She had this amazing glow about her, and I was in awe at how lucky I was to be in that situation. We had a brief rehearsal, photos taken by a very stoic and unfriendly cameraman, and were then whisked away so that the guests could take their seats.

The ceremony itself was amazing. I had to enter first, then wait for Rie and her father to enter. I then met them halfway, took Rie’s arm and walked slowly to the front of the chapel. It was a very beautiful and emotional ceremony and even though I couldn’t fully comprehend all of it, I didn’t need too. Rie’s letter to her parents was moving and beautiful; the cake cutting and champagne toast was brilliantly uplifting (thanks to Miho and Ed); my English/Japanese speech went down well. I can’t have any complaints.

It was an amazing day. I am truly blessed to be married to the one true light in my life. Thank you Rie.

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A “virtually” perfect wedding ?

27 11 2009

Only in Japan eh ?

Well aparently the problems and differences between the sexes in this country doesn’t apply to the virtual world, where a man has married his virtual girlfriend.

Sal9000 “married” Nene Agegasakai, a character from the Nintendo DS game, LovePlus at Tokyo Institute of Technology and included a real priest, a real audience and a slideshow of the couple’s happy memories.

I think this shows the real and growing issue amongst the Otaku (nerd) subculture in Japan who have real issues in forming relationships with the opposite sex. LovePlus has given the Otaku the chance to form relationships, however these are, literally, virtual relationships. As the population ages in Japan, causing real problems for the Economy, LovePlus and Sal9000’s “marriage” has only compounded the problem.





Another lazy/busy weekend

25 11 2009

My weekends usually have a relaxing quality about them. But that’s not to say Rie and I don’t deserve them. Rie travels into Kyobashi, near Tokyo station everyday which takes about 30 minutes each way. In the morning she’s usually lucky and some Japanese gentleman will offer her up his seat (trains in Japan have special seating for Pregnant, Elderly or Infirm people), yet at night the Tozai line is a horrid mass of bodies. God knows how she manages.

Me, on the other hand has a very short commute to work. A 5 minute bike ride to the station, followed by a 2 minute train ride. Yet my work is intense and demands concentration and focus. But it’s fun, and the place I work at is great, so I am not complaining. When Saturday night rolls around it’s time to kick back and have some R and R.

On Saturday night, me and Rie had lunch at a Tori (chicken) resturant in Nishi Funabashi. The chicken was from Miyazaki prefecture and was cooked in it’s own unique way right in front of us. Lumps of chicken meat were placed in a large flat pan and then placed of some intense flames that seemed to fire up like a volcanic eruption. Seasoning was added and it was really good.

Sunday was very lazy. We stayed in bed until 11, then I cooked brunch. We wandered on down to the Hyaku yen shop (100 yen shop) for a few bits and some fresh air. We also took the opportunity that night to organise the wedding especially regarding the music. Thankfully we planned it all out, and with no arguements or disagreements, which is one the reasons why I love Rie so much. We don’t argue much at all…in fact we don’t argue. Sometimes there maybe a little disagrement but we are on the same page for most of the time.

Monday was a National Holiday, so we met up with Rie’s parents for dinner that night at a Viking restaurant (an all you can eat buffet style) near our appartment. I bought gifts for her parents, and I think they liked my choices. I didn’t eat too much..well it didn’t take much to fill me up…one trip to the salad bar, some bread, and a small steak….Rie’s parents are really nice people, who love her without putting too much pressure on her.

So all in all another lazy/busy weekend!





House of Sake

20 11 2009

 

 

The House of Lords opened a new session this week in the UK with a party that commemorated the 150 year old Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce by indulging in Japan’s best know alcohol, sake.

The sake was provided by Koichi Saura, a board member of the Japan Sake Brewers Association, who brought with him, some of the finest Japanese Rice Wine from Miyami and Toyama prefectures. Around 200 peers enjoyed this fine Japanese alcoholic beverage.

 





206 – A video tour

16 11 2009




Obama in Japan

16 11 2009

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So, President Barack Obama made a flying visit to Tokyo this weekend and met with the new Japanese Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama. Several big issues were side-stepped by the pair including the relocation of the Futenma Military base in Okinawa, Japan’s reluctance to sign the Hague Convention on child abduction (especially from failed marriages), and Japan’s involvment in Afghanistan.

Obama also made it clear he will focus on strengthening ties with China — a bilateral relationship that is often a source of concern in Japan — and encouraged Beijing to play a greater role in the international community.

On the last day of his two-day stay in Tokyo, Obama for the first time gave a comprehensive overview of his Asia policy at Suntory Hall in Minato Ward.

Aiming to dispel recent concerns over the Japan-U.S. military alliance, Obama reiterated how much Washington values the bilateral relationship, stressing it is the foundation of “security and prosperity” for the two nations.

“Since taking office, I have worked to renew American leadership and pursue a new era of engagement with the world based on mutual interests and mutual respect,” Obama said.

“And our efforts in the Asia-Pacific will be rooted, in no small measure, through an enduring and revitalized alliance between the United States and Japan.”

The mood at the Suntory Hall was welcoming, and Obama drew laughter from the audience as he recalled visiting Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, as a young boy and being more interested in “maccha” ice cream than in seeing the great Amida Buddha.

Obama, who was born in Hawaii and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, stressed the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the U.S.

“Asia and the United States are not separated by this great ocean — we are bound by it,” Obama said.

Obama said all nations, including Iran and North Korea, should fulfill their responsibilities in nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

He urged the North to return to the six-party talks and called on Pyongyang to disclose details of the Japanese abductees.

“Working in tandem with our partners, supported by direct diplomacy, the United States is prepared to offer North Korea a different future,” Obama said.

Pointing out China’s rapidly developing economy, Obama said other countries should not view its expansion with fear.

“The United States does not seek to contain China, nor does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of our bilateral alliances” with other countries, Obama said.

“On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.”

But at the same time, he strongly expressed his intention to take a critical stance on human rights issues in China.

The U.S. and China “will not agree on every issue, and the United States will never waver in speaking up for the fundamental values that we hold dear — and that includes respect for the religion and cultures of all people — because support for human rights and human dignity is ingrained in America,” Obama said. “But we can move these discussions forward in a spirit of partnership rather than rancor.””





Review : Doctor Who – The Waters of Mars

16 11 2009

So here is the beginning of the end for Tennant’s Time Lord. This is the 2nd of 4 specials, and after the entertaining but hollow Planet of the Dead, Waters of Mars sees a remarkable return to form for Tennant and Russell T Davis. Where POTD was light, fluffy Who, WOM is dark, deep and incredibly well themed.

Tennant’s Doctor has always been plagued by whether or not he actually does any good. He arrives in a place and inevitably disaster follows. People get hurt, most likely those closest to him. Rose, Martha, Donna. Here the Doctor tries to avoid from getting entangled in events that are “fixed points” but the more he does the darker he becomes. It’s a fantastic move from Davis and one that we’ve seen toyed with in Tennant’s Doc. Ecclestone had this darkness, but his encounter with Rose tempered him and literally made him in a new man. Here the Doctor lacks a companion to give him a link to humanity, and the places it leads are very dark indeed.

WOM is the finest WHO episode for a long time. The performances are top notch, the monsters creepy and scary without detracted from the main thrust of the story (the Doctor’s dilemma about whether to intervene in set and crucial events), and the episode is incredible well paced with the characters of the Doctor and Captain Adelaide Brooks (an excellent Lindsay Duncan) given space to develop.

All in all an fantastic episode that bodes well for the final two of the RTD/Tennant era.

Mark out of 10 – 9.5  Ranks up there with the best the series has to offer. Fine acting, creepy monsters and a wonderful, if dark, theme.