Sunday, June 26, 2005

Me @ Karaoke~ taken by Minoda-san (aka. Minocchi) Posted by Hello

Me, Taniguchi-san and Yamanaka-san Posted by Hello

gonna do a dance number for the newly weds... yep, that's right... "Oyome Samba!" (Bride Samba)... too bad I didn't get Taniguchi san to take it in video...  Posted by Hello

The "Hikide Mono" (present for guests), Satsuma-age (very Kagoshima), and Arita yaki plate Posted by Hello

The Wedding Frenzy! Posted by Hello

My first time to attend a wedding banquet... in Japan!

Okay, so as I wrote in my previous entry, I attended a wedding banquet last night... But the whole thing is more like a gathering for the city hall employees.. because about 50% of the guests were city hall workers and their spouses/families. It's absolutely madness.

So I went to the Satsuki-en Hotel with Yamanaka-san and we actually found parking quite quickly. Then went in to find a massive number of people in the hotel lobby. We lined up to give our "present" (which is money--usually 20 thousand yen) in the special envelope that has design for wedding (they have all different kinds of design for different occasions).

After we handed reception people the envelope, they gave us a card for us to write down our name, address and a message to the newly weds (like congrats, etc). Then they handed us a booklet (like a program...for opera?) with today's schedule and our seating charts.

Then we lined up to greet the bride and groom and give them our congratulations before we get in the banquet room.

Because of the number of people (probably 300 people there yesterday), the seating chart was quite massive and we really couldn't find our seats. But then I realized that since I'm probably the only one with name in Katakana, so I found mine quite quickly. hee hee~

After about 20 min or so, the ceremony started... with many many MANY speeches! The first batter was our kacho (division director).

Now, remember we're the groom's side (Shinmiya Hisahiko san)... Our kacho, being as he is, had to say the name wrong... the kanji reading of Shinmiya-san's first name can also be read Naohiko, but it's Hisahiko...(probably after his mom who is Hisako). So Kacho kept saying Naohiko, Naohiko... then changed back to Hisahiko, the correct way, and in the end said Naohiko again. Really, just outrageous...

Then the really traditional Japanese singing from Shinmiya san's aunt, and then some chinese poem reading from the two nephews of the bride. Apparently, this was the probably the most traditional Japanese wedding you could ever get. With all the singing and dancing and pretty much everybody was wearing Japanese kimono (at least all the close relatives).

hmmm and some taiko drumming, some silly dancing... oh yeah and our "Oyome Samba" turned out quite good! We forgot that Fujita san (the vice director) was supposed to sing the song and we never actually listened until the wedding. We practiced while the bride and groom cut the cake... :p Finally we got on the stage, wearing our Kanoya Rose City happi (shirt you wear for festivals in Japan) and danced like a bunch of silly people. It was quite obvious that we didn't practice at all. However, the whole show was quite entertaining, even if it's just for ourselves.

Then we got back to our table to finish our meal which was already cold and not that good anymore. (Today I just realized that I missed quite a few because I didn't even know there were more food like chawanmushi... >_<)

After that more shows... serious, I never thought the guests are required to do performances to entertain... geez, why can't you just go and enjoy an overpriced meal and get it over with, but you actually have to provide entertainment...

Then the bride and groom had to go around and the light the candles (called "Candle Service") at each table and thank everybody for coming. I took some pretty interesting pictures, and I'll put them up in the photo albums.

Finally the bride and groom gave flower bouquets to their parents to thank them.

In the end, all the guests lined up again (just like when we came in) to head out, and thank the bride and groom for inviting us. Then they gave us a small spoon that has a pretty green leaf on it. I suppose it's some sort of souvenir...

Then we headed to the Nijikai (second party), which pretty much not many people attended... (I'll let you know, it was only about 8pm at the time...) So we went to Hemmings in downtown for some more drinks. I was just curious what it's like, you know a nijikai for a wedding.

The bride just never showed up and Shinmiya-san showed up like an hour late. By the time he came most of the people were already having fun without the groom.

I ended up talking with this guy who works next in our office but we never actually talked. hee hee, I never realized there were many interesting people in the city hall.

After that I went to karaoke down the street with Minoda-san and Higo-san. Then we sang "Oyome Samba" there. with Minoda-san vocal and Higo-san dance... hee hee~ It's one of the best video I've ever taken:)

Anyhoo... that's the brief version of my first time to attend a Japanese wedding banquet. It was certainly nice to dress up in nice pretty dress and my cute stilettoes. (Although I felt like a snack bar hostess a bit, in a pink dress with a shiny pink shawl... actually Torigoe-san even jokingly asked how much it is to "request" (shimei) my presence at his table... geez, that could be considered sexual harrassment!)

Anyways, next April I'll go to Yuki's again~ yay~

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Going to a Japanese wedding!

Finally, I'm going to a real wedding as a grown up... in Japan! (I don't know why but there are so many first times in Japan... first time on an ambulance, first time on TV, first time going to a wedding...)

The Japanese way of doing things is really complicated and it gets more confusing when it comes to celebrations or ceremonial things...

For the wedding, we can't cheap out and buy presents, but we have to put 20,000 yen in a special envelope and then write our name on it with the caligraphy pen.

Ladies should not wear a white dress or anything that can be considered white (like off-white or ivory) because it's the bride's colour. I'll be wearing a pink kinda summer dress and with a shawl from Comme Ca ism. Oh and my pink stilettoes are really cute too. hee hee

I'll write about it after tonight. Oh yeah btw, we'll be doing a dance number "Oyome Samba"... so stupid. Especially we're all doing it together (the office people). I wonder how many other CIRs are this involved in the stupid affairs (or they just don't think that the foreigner should be "discriminated" in this situation anyway...?)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Very Very AYASHII...

So, I went to K elementary school for a school visit, taught the kids colours and played bingo games with them. The gokiburi game, as usual, was a hit. The 3rd grade teacher is really cute... hmmm... hee hee~

Then when I got back to the office, I found my supervisor kinda bustling about and was really relieved when he saw that I was back before 2pm. He said that there is this foreigner lady who needs her documents translated for downstairs, and he thought that I wouldn't be back until 2pm (as K elem always goes until 1pm and I just take my lunch break at home until 2pm), but today there were only two classes, so I got back early to the office. I thought I would be a nice civil worker and get back to city hall first instead of taking the extra 20 mins before lunch.

Okay, so the two philipina ladies showed up with these documents, one being a birth certificate and one being a marriage contract from Phillipines.

One lady (who looks vaguely familiar) speaks Japanese and she did all the talking, but then the other (whose documents I'd be translating) could only speak Phillipino (or English) refused to talk to me at all, even in English. Basically the bitchy lady is going to get married but she had to prove that her husband back home died before, so she's free to married again, in Japan. So I grudgingly accepted the documents right when the lunch bell chimed (I get really pissed when my lunch time is interrupted, doesn't matter by whom, especially when I already planned to have pasta at home...).

I got a cup noodle from the shop in the basement and ate it quickly while people made fun of me and said that it would never fill me (don't I know it!). Then I got right into the translating...

I basically just translated the important stuff; however, the documents were just really wordy and basically mean really simple things.

Then they came back and I gave them both copies (with my names at the bottom and I had to put my inkan, personal seal, on every single page) of the translated ones and the originals. That's when the ayashii part started.

The lady who could speak Japanese asked if my supervisor could check if she writes the kanji right. Then we checked to see what document she's writing... It's application of marriage for Jp gov't...for the other lady whose documents I'd been translating. ah, interesting, wait it gets better.

The lady who speaks Japanese (ah, let's call her lady A) already filled out one side of the witness part and she's going to fill out the other side so she can submit it downstairs. I told her that it should be filled out by the person himself as a witness. Then the lady A told me that she has his inkan because he's her husband. But then she also said that she needs to call him to ask for his address because he doesn't live here, but the city. OH, even more interesting...

After that's done, we sent them downstairs again...

And they came back only 10 mins later, saying that they need the death certificate of the deceased husband translated as well...

I actually handled it pretty well. (I actually smiled to be polite)

I translated it quickly until the line of cause of death--Undertermined.... ooooh.... I see...

And it seems like the document was incomplete.

At that point, I was just too annoyed to care, and my supervisor and I just wanted to get rid of them as soon as possible.

So off they go with their documents. The Lady A actually asked how much she should pay me... hmmm...

Anyways... so that's that.

and, there's also that Chris thing... ah... it's a long story again. It's good enough after I've ranted to N, J, and H.

So later in the evening, I went to Bluemoon Cafe with Nanette, Joe, Heather, Misa(J's JTE), and Ikeda (N's JTE). It was quite nice and I had really good Sri Lanka Curry~ not that spicy, just that I required quite a large amount of water while consuming it... :p

Misa went to Australia for a year as an exchange student, and she has a wicked Aussie accent, actually to be precise, according to N, Misa has a Sydney accent, like Nej Mike. I just thought the way she talked was really cute. And she actually understands what we're talking about. Unlike some other JTEs who pretend they know what we're talking about when in fact they have no idea and just too shy to ask.

Had another nice blue drink called "Blue Moon." As I ordered it, the waitress asked me, "It's really strong, are you sure?" I thought alright, I'll just have one drink and that should be ok. Then when she brought the drink she asked me again... okay...

Basically it's gin and some kind of blue liquer... nothing to blend it... full alcohol. But I wasn't that drunk, since I didn't really drink quickly at all. I just sipped a little by little.

Finally when she came to get the glass, the waitress was surprised and said:"oh, you're strong!" wow... did people get too drunk off this "Blue Moon" cocktail before??

Oh yeah, and as we were talking and stuff, suddenly all the lights went off... enjoyed a nice moment of darkness and the nice view of the ocean until the light was turned back on.

Talked about how pigs actually don't sweat, as a result, the saying "sweating like a pig" is actually incorrect. And according to H, the saying should be "sweating like a stuck pig." After that J and N enlightened us about how dogs can't look up, like at the sky and stuff. Yeah, we talk about all the intelligent topics there are~

Bluemoon Cafe is quite nice, H kept saying that she wants to go back again. I want to as well, to taste their Thai yakisoba. H's smelled soooo good!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Me in Furisode. Yoshioka-san put it on for me~ Posted by Hello

Rice Planting experience at KAPIC. When Fall comes we'll get to harvest it and make mochi! Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

Me and Naoko Posted by Hello

Me and Yuki in Tokyo Posted by Hello

Tried on Furisode at the Minzokukan, after the event was over. hee hee Posted by Hello

What a week!

This week (well, last week to be exact) has been a rush with tons of stuff happening... all of sudden the weekend's over and I'm back to work again (actually, I worked through last weekend so... it didn't really count...)

On Monday, I went to Tokyo for the Re-contracting Conference in Shinjuku. The hotel that we're all staying in is Keio Plaza. hee hee~ Actually we're all required to book the rooms through this designated travel agency, but then it actually costs more to book with them than booking it through the hotel pack with another travel agency. So as the policy of our city hall, we had to choose whichever that's cheaper. I was more than happy to do that. If we book the room with the designated one, I'd have to share a triple bed room with 2 other people, but then I booked with hotel pack. I had my own room, with lots of space ;)

The room was just awesome! It was nice and big (2 times size of my apartment), with a HUGE queen size bed, and amenities for 2 people (I actually used 2 toothbrushes in 1 day... just cuz). Then the mornings, I GOT NEWSPAPERS! It was complimentary newspaper of Mainichi Shimbun, and I couldn't be happier. I read the newspaper while eating breakfast. It was fantastic.

Oh yeah, about the conference... I think I learned more in this conference then the past ones. Probably because this one is all by professional people, and they really know what they're talking about. Especially the translation and interpretation one. The lady who taught our class translates and does simultaneous interpreting for TV broadcast. When 9/11 happened, she got phone calls at 1 in the morning to do the interpreting for CNN. She really had lots of good info about the industry. However, she mentioned that the pay is not as good as what people have imagined it to be, because there are so many people who can do it... the market is too small for such a big group of people who can do it. Hmmm made me re-think about my career choice now.

I think I asked too many questions and pretty much dominated the whole conversation... cuz most of the CIRs could care less about interpreting... since all they do is school visits and eikaiwa (which is pretty much what I do too, but I just love talking... :p) Then I asked her about the famous translator T. N., then she said that "OFU REKO (off record), T. N. actually has really poor reputation in the industry... because she's getting old and not that capable of doing things like before." hee hee~ I especially asked the question for Maru-chan, cuz we were just talking about T.N.'s poor translation for movies the other days. hee hee~

Then at nights, I met Noriko, Eriko on first night, and Naoko and Yuki on second night. It was definitely awesome to see them after 1 year! (Noriko, not so long since I saw her last Dec in Chiba) We went for great food (Korean the first night, and then Yakitori the second night), some nice drinks, and LOTs of chatting. Heard from Yuki about this getting married business and I'm really happy that this guy seems pretty sincere. Yuki has the tendency of being attracted to dame-otoko (scrubs..?), so I'm actually really surprised that she found this guy that seems quite honest and treats her quite well.

Did lots of shopping in Shinjuku, bought a few skirts for work, that's it. Couldn't buy any more stuff cuz then they'd just not fit in my bag and had to carry them... etc etc... Went to Tokyo Station before heading to Airport, shopped a bit more. After that, got to airport with lots of time to spare. Bought the new version of Tokyo Banana for work ppl. The new Tokyo Banana is like a bound cake, but REALLY good. The taste is not too sweet and quite good with coffee. Next time when go to tokyo, I'll get more (for myself~~).

Got back to work on Thursday, then dived right into preparation for Ajisai Matsuri. Had to get the "Trivia Hunt" ready, the trivia questions ready for prints, the gifts for winners ready (the flags of diff. countries made from beads and safety pins),...etc. So many things to do with so little time. I also still have to do the report of re-conctrating conference and hand it in within 10 days. Ahhhhhhhhhh...

Finally, when Sunday came, the Ajisai Matsuri in Minzokukan was a hit! The photo session with trying on different countries' clothings was really popular, and people all seemed to enjoy my trivia hunt. I especially loved it when the kids yelled "Atta!!(Found it!)" when they found the answers. It was a great feeling. Also the gift in the end surely made lots of them really happy. The Brazilian flag and Jamaican flag were really popular, and my original design Canadian Maple Leaf Flag went quickly as well. In the end, we had to close it early before 2pm because we've run out of flags to give people. oops~

However, throughout the whole day, I had a cold (actually still have as of this moment), and was quite sickly. The people around office were all really nice and kept asking if I was okay. Yoshioka -san even gave me some meds to take. For the event to go smoothly, I had to make sure that everything is okay.

HUGE THANKS to Nanette and Joe who came out to help me and be the quiz masters for trivia hunt. They seemed quite happy, so I'm happy ^_^ Too bad the food coupon thing didn't work out that the vendors wouldn't let them use their food coupon for cotton candy. oh well... anyways.. I was just too grateful for them to be there... (Jenny and Chris said they would come too.. but then they were nowhere to be seen, and still no idea why they didn't show now. No mail whatsoever,... ah, don't care anymore.)

Today went to work with a heavy body and a mind that's barely working. School visit in Sugawara, the school by Kinko Bay. It's one of my fave school cuz there are only 30 kids or so there, and they are all really sweet, especially the 1 and 2 graders... so cute!

After lunch, played dodgeball with the whole school kids in the school gym. As usual, the kids get too serious and there bound to be a few that cry because they didn't get the ball or other kids got the ball from them... etc. Finally, when the game is over, the boys still didn't want to give the ball back. The girl got impatient and started chasing... I got impatient as well, so I yelled out "やめろうつーの!!"("Quit It!!"). Then the boys suddenly gave the ball up and everyone's like "Sandy せんせい、カッコイイ!"(Kakko ii, basically "cool!!") hee hee~ sometimes being loud has it's merits :)

Then got back home... took afternoon off from work. went to post office, mailed out the airplane tickets that I canceled. Got back home again... slept until 5pm.

Having a cold sucks!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Rice Planting!!! I tried really hard to keep them in straight lines... Posted by Hello

Rice Planting... and Going to Tokyo tomorrow~ Yay~~

Tomorrow is finally the Re-contracting conference!! yay!! Can't wait to meet Naoko, Noriko and Yuki (gotta hear all about this "I'm getting married next spring" thing from Yuki...). It might be a bit strange coming from Kanoya, and now to the big bad city Tokyo (AND shinjuku too!). hee hee

Today went to KAPIC to participate in the planting rice field event and the chinese sweet cooking class. The rice planting thing was loads of fun! Heather planted quite quickly and both Nanette and I think that she's finally found her calling... that's until the guy in charge told us that we've all planted off the lines... and apparently Heather and I have merged into one line at one point. Oops ;p

Joe got his huge boots that he got at Hokkaido.. They looked pretty heavy but he seemed to like it better than soaking his feet in the rice paddies. hmmm didn't seem like a bad idea.

I was wearing my oilers t-shirt (should've brought my oilers hat to match it...), and it got really hot... But then it became a little cloudy (thought it was gonna rain), so we were not that baked. Then we started feeling a bit cold. But the kids are just having fun on their own, rolling around in the rice paddies and getting all dirty.

After that we had lunch and then took a nice long break before the Chinese Ibunka session starts. The sweet that we prepared was actually really simple, basically cut a lotus root in half (or rather in 1:3 ratio) and stuff it with mochi rice, then broil it with sugar water for 1 hr or so. Slice it and then voila, you're done! It didn't take too much time, and while we were waiting for it to be done, the Ken CIR Ka-san from China talked about some sweets kids eat in China and the games they play at home. She brought two "Jian Zi" which is kinda like a hacky sack but with feathers and a coin on the bottom. Oh... that's when I forgot that the point of having those is for the kids to play... I started doing it.. and remembered that I used to be really good too. :p

Anyways, so I realized that the kids should be the ones playing, so I just sat back down and watch them try desperately to "kick" it... Eventually the Jian Zi got all broken, the feathers fell out and the bottoms are no where to be seen. I think the kids finally did it... poor Ka-san, I wonder if she can fix them.

So, we got back home after the thing was over.. I started cleaning my house a bit, and packed for Tokyo. Watched "Gosford Park" while packing... great movie~

Friday, June 03, 2005

The office welcome party, again

Well, just got back from the office welcome party for Kamizono san (whom I seldom talked to until today he acted like he knows me really well...) from the Rose Section (where they use rose to make Kanoya a more tourist friendly city).

I was actually a bit worried before going cuz of the incident awhile ago... (an incident that can be considered sexual harrassment)... But it turned out not too bad.

Stupid Higo-san is the kanji and he made up these tiny papers for us to draw for our seats... stupidest thing I've ever heard. I ended up sitting in front of Iwamoto-an and next to Sakamoto-san (kakaricho) at the end of the other table. It went pretty good and we had some good laughs then we finished the party...

I was already thinking that okay, so the nijikai (the second party) would be karaoke... since it's always been that. I don't really wanna go to another place for alcohol... it's pointless and cost way too much money.

We were all waiting downstairs and none of the top people came down... Minoda-san said that maybe we can just go ahead and they can just join later. So Minoda-san, Shinmiya-san, Yamanaka-san, Kawahara-san and I went to bull-echo karaoke and were having so much fun, and that's when the phone call started...

Kuragasaki-san started calling Minoda-san and Kawahara-san endlessley and just wanted us to join them. They were at another Izakaya and want us to go there instead of them coming to Karaoke... I really didn't want to go drink more, especially that's what we just did! At least do something different for nijikai... but I suppose in a small town like Kanoya, drinking is always the way to go... :p

Anyways, Kawahara-san and Minoda-san decided to go, Yamanaka-san and Shinmiya-san just got taxi to go home... Bull echo is really close to my place, so I split as soon as I got close to my place. I was so happy :) didn't have to feel so guilty about it, especially since I really REALLY didn't want to drink any more than I already did. The biggest plus is that I don't have see any of them until next Thursday~~ hee hee am going to the Re-contracting Conference in Tokyo for 3 days from Monday. yippee~~

So now am watching the TW drama DVDs that I borrowed since last Saturday. It's so stupid and the girl who's supposed to be an ABC... she sounds SO not ABC... and she wears so much makeup! Actually all the girls wear lots of makeup. It's scary... man, maybe when I get back, I'll get the shock of my life... oi

Thursday, June 02, 2005

the Minzokukan~

Went to the Folk Museum in Takakuma yesterday for work (research for the ajisai matsuri) and chatted with Yoshioka-san~ It's been awhile since I saw her last time... I think it was at the farewell/welcome party... A very cool person to talk to. She cracks me up like no one else :) Posted by Hello

Yoshioka-san, in Folk Museum, showing the Korean "Sogo" drum Posted by Hello