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The parents day 5: Japanese weddings...

On Saturday I took my parents to the Fuku0ka T0wer. It was a bit overcast, but much clearer than it had been the previous few days. A cold front moved in and things have become 'autumny' very quickly.

From the observation deck of the tower at 123m above the ground. The view toward the east, the Se@hawk hotel, which we would be visiting next...

But not before taking a picture of the wedding chapel thing down by the manmade beach I visited in August. Weddings would be the theme of the day...

As we walked down to the Sea Hawk hotel, we happened upon a TV crew filming something:

I stopped and this old guy who spoke english well came up and started chatting with me. They were filming some commercial for tea. I wanted to ask who the people were, but then a PA came up and said "your parents are waiting." (how did he know? :-P and in english strangely enough), which we both took to mean

I assume the old guy was of some sort of higher position so he didn't need to listen if he didn't want to, but he knew to end the conversation anyway, so I took off.

I was showing my parents the green house atrium of the Se@hawk hotel, when we happened upon a wedding ceremony in progress:

Right there behind the bushes (completely visible from the 2nd and 3rd levels). Interestingly, they had a white guy serving as priest and a few big crosses on the altar, etc. You'll note a few of the guests in kimono too.

Perhaps even more strange was the life vocalist they had belting out the tunes... but it was a strange mish-mash of Catholic and Protestant... ( and then ).... and then bizarrely enough at the end, they play Pomp and Circumstance, aka .

The 'priest' who may or may not be an actual cleric, did the service mostly in english, but I think he included some Japanese, as well as descriptive hand signals for standing up and sitting down....

And within a few minutes it was over. Once the last guest left from the side exit, the staff jumped into action cleaning up the flower petals and rearranging the chairs... the ENTIRE crew, including the trumpeter and the yes, the priest guy too!

Within two minutes they had it all reset and viola:

The next wedding! I think they were rolling them in and out on a 30 minute rotation. I'm guessing every weekend is like this. The nice thing about doing it a greenhouse is that weather is not an issue I guess.

Anyway, just to get everyone up to speed, in my experience, the average Japanese tend to be quite un-religious... many of them are Shinto by default (more by nationality/race than by anything else), and follow it more as a tradition rather than a rigid belief system. As modern Japanese culture is open to adopting external influences (eg high-heeled boots and Brad Pitt), many Japanese people want to incorporate western traditions into their wedding, at least the way they THINK western traditions are (e.g. from what they see in movies, etc). So the finer distinctions between Catholicism/Protestant, etc are not important.

Another example of this is the Japanese adoption of Christmas(modified into some sort of Valentine's Day clone for couples), or even yes... Halloween:

Yes, we took a short jaunt over to HRC for some lunch. As they have everything decked out for Halloween, I tried the 'Pumpkin Burger' - which I found out wasn't actually made with a normal orange pumpkin as we know and love... but rather the green type 'asian pumpkin', which does NOT taste quite the same. I felt kind of cheated.

It turns out they are doing a costume contest on sunday night. I wish I could go, but we're driving down to the volcano on monday morning and I gotta go get the rental car first thing in the morning.... (which is why I won't put my pictures up from sunday's visit to the botanical gardens up until tomorrow and won't get to touch my Halloween party pictures for a few more days....) :-P

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April 13, 2007