Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Wedding Bells Have Gone Silent

What a fortnight! The time leading up to our wedding was pretty hectic, and since then I have hardly had a chance to sit down at any computer for more than a few minutes. Now that I am back in the office, I have all day to do whatever crosses my path; and that includes writing a full blog update.

Since coming to Japan, this is definitely the longest I have gone without writing an entry. But weddings only happen once. I could never have foreseen that in three months I would propose, and that we would plan and implement a wedding; not to mention see most of my family again, within a year of coming here.

The days leading up to when my family began arriving are a bit of a blur. We were definitely busy and under a little (ie. a lot of) stress. It was a relief to get everything finalised and see everything through to the end; but even now there are still things to sort out.

Mum, dad and the two youngest -- Amy and Simon -- travelled from their city in China (Shenyang) to Incheon (Seoul, South Korea) and then over here, to Okayama, on Saturday the 18th. We had organised for them to stay overnight at a hotel and then to travel by bus to Kochi.

The next day, I drove into K-city and met my family at the station. We went out for dinner at Masala and then drove back here to Taisho. Mika was excited to meet them. They brought out my suit and her dress, which they had got last weekend for us, and it was a good time of introductions, presents and settling in. Dad and Simon came back to my apartment to stay with me.

The following day -- Monday, the 19th -- we all went into the city to do some shopping. We stopped in Tosa to get a few things from Daiso 100-yen store and shopped at Aeon in K-city. It was a pretty full day, and we got back kind of late.

On Tuesday, I had to work. I inroduced my family to my office workmates in the morning. I could have written a blog entry but the thought didn't even cross my mind that day. It was google reader all the way. ;)

I finished work an hour early and went back to my place to sort some things out. Dad was there, working on his sermon for the coming Sunday morning service. He spent a lot of time on my computer last week preparing that.

We had dinner with Mika's parents that night. Her mother took my wedding suit to hem the pants and she measured Mika's dress or whatever to adjust that for the wedding. Dad, Simon and I watched a movie after getting back to my place.

On Wednesday, we went to Nakamura to do some shopping. We also travelled out to Ashizuri cape, which was nice. We got some good photos, too. We ate a very late dinner after getting home. Dad, Simon and I watched another movie before bed.

It turned out that because Nick's flight from NZ to Syndey was delayed, he and Lish missed their flight to Tokyo. They were put up in a hotel in Sydney and were able to spend Thursday checking out the city, but it meant that we had to book a new domestic flight here, between Haneda and Kochi airports. Mottainai. I hope that Qantas will reimburse me for their incompetence that resulted in spending another 50,000 yen. Well, at least they made it in time!

Because of Qantas's stubbornness, we had to change our plans around. Instead of travelling to the airport on Thursday, we set up the church, wedding style. It turned out very nice! I left the sound system for Saturday, but everything else was prepared. However, we couldn't have a proper planned rehearsal without Nick and Lish.

Friday came and went. Ok, so there was more to it than that. We all went into the city, to Aeon mall. Mika, mum and dad went shopping (with Eddi) while I took Amy and Simon out to the airport to meet our brother and sister. We picked them up and came back to the mall. It was a touching moment for mum and Lish to see each other. Why couldn't she have cried when she saw her oldest son after a year? :p

We came back to Taisho (again -- sheesh, I did a lot of travelling last week), and got everyone settled in. We had a fairly late meal before the boys came to my place and we had my bachelor party. Mikey came around with his PS3 and we watched Die Hard 4 and ate junk food. Simon had to stay at Mika's with everyone else, with Nick staying at my place. So I took him back after our little get-together.

Saturday was the big day. I was rushing around all morning, finalising stuff: ironing, printing, organising lunch for the "boys". I got to the church with very little time to set up the sound system, and jumped into my suit at the last minute. I still had to cut my wedding vow flashcards out, too!

Mika was absolutely stunning. The whole ceremony went so well, praise God. Simon even did a good job of the music. We had a whole lot of photos taken by our good friend, Narae; especially afterwards, with all different compositions (parents, various family members, the pastor and his wife, etc etc). It was exciting to be the highlight of the day with my beautiful bride!

I don't have any photos to put up here on my blog, but I will definitely link to various facebook albums as they get put up.

The reception was great. Everyone was happy, the food was good and our cake was amazing. Mika and I had changed from our wedding clothes into different clothes for the occasion: from white to black. It made for some nice photos.

Afterwards, we made sure everyone left safely and then drove to a hotel in Susaki to spend our first married night together.

Skip ahead to the next day... ;)

My whole family (well, those that were here in Japan, which was everyone save Leah and Jonny) were at church on Sunday morning. Dad preached and we had a wedding lunch afterwards.

It got quite late in the afternoon and we had to get back so that mum and dad could pack for leaving in the morning. We all spent some time together at Mika's house before dad, Nick and I crashed at my place. Nick and I stayed up for a bit finalising some file copying (movies and TV shows for my old external HDD which I gave to dad and the kids).

Monday rolled around and we saw mum and dad off at the station in K-city. We said our goodbyes and then the six of us (we had Aki with us, because she and Eddi had spent the night at their grandparents') spent the day in the city. We went to Masala for lunch and looked around Obiyamachi, before heading to Aeon. We gave Aki back to her parents and left the city.

Monday night was pretty uneventful. I decided to stay with my wife while Nick had my apartment all to himself.

On Tuesday, we wanted to go somewhere, but Eddi was finishing yochien early, so we merely went to the stone windmill and its surrounding area, opposite the nearby michinoeki. Lish and Nick were able to take some nice photos.

I had a rest after we picked up Eddi -- Mika had a nap, too. I guess we were all pretty tired. We had dinner with Mika's parents that evening. Nick made a good impression, drinking sake with Mika's dad and doing his best with his anime-learned Japanese. I think her dad was also impressed that I drank a bit of sake with them, as he just assumed that because I don't drink beer every day, I don't drink sake. Nommunication, people. :o

Nick and I watched most of Aliens before bed. It was before 12am when we finished up, with less than an hour to go, but we were both just too tired to continue.

Mika had to work yesterday, so I took Nick and Lish to the airport by myself. It was funny, because the first group of JETs were arriving at the same time. I wasn't aware of this until Candice called me and asked if I was at the airport, because she had just seen my brother. I went downstairs, and she and Laurel were standing there, haha. It seems that a number of our fellow Kochi JETs had shown up to meet the new JETs coming in; even Michael was there with a sign.

We ate lunch at the aiport and then I saw my big sis and little bro off. That was the last of the family to leave. I drove back home and had a rest because I was really tired.

We went out for dinner last night in K-town. It was the last time we will see Laurel before she leaves, and was a good way to get introduced to Michael's replacement, Brittany. She is being placed in the K-town BOE rather than in my office here in Taisho. Michael will be spending his last few days with our BOE over there as well, I guess, as he is no longer here in the office.

So now things have quietened down. I am waiting for both my Birth Certificate and a Certificate of No Impediment from Births, Deaths and Marriages, so that Mika and I can be officially married. We still have wedding stuff to pay off and will be moving into Michael's old apartment as soon as he has completely moved out.

I'm sure there are other things to sort out, such as trying to make Qantas cough up some form of reimbursement for having delayed my siblings and forced the procuring of another domestic flight, not to mention the grief cause for us having to change our plans around just before the wedding.

But all is well in Taisho on this beautiful Thursday morning. The wedding bells have gone silent but a life of marriage has only just begun.



Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Power of His Love

Nine days to go. Three until mum, dad and the youngest siblings arrive; seven days until the other two do.

So what has happened since last I wrote? School finished. Wedding planning continued. And it's hot.

Last weekend, my parents got my suit and Mika's dress from a huge mall about an hour from where they live in China. Meanwhile, we sorted out details for the reception, the cake and the flower arranging.

After the weekend, it was back to business. School this week has been very slow. There were no classes on Tuesday or today at the respective chuugakkou. However, I travelled to Tokawa on Tuesday afternoon to receive a wedding present that they wanted to give us; and today, I went to Shouwa before being told that there would be no English class at all. Which meant a day in the office!

Did I mention that it's hot?

With school over for the summer, all I will be able to do for the next month and a half is scan google reader, play on Facebook and prepare resources. I guess I could throw in some Japanese study from time to time. Oh, and I have next week off to spend with my family. After all, I'm getting married next weekend. :o

As far as planning goes, we still need to work out some decoration details for both the ceremony at the church and the reception at the restaurant we have booked. Aside from that, it is now just a matter of getting through the rehearsal this weekend and finding accommodation for my family.

We also need to find a new house. So far nothing has shown up on our radar. But since God has taken care of everything so well so far, this is a minor issue that will be taken care of pretty quickly and easily.

Here's to the weekend~ ^^


Ps. I will get around to making the stylistic changes. I'd like to get married first and focus on more important things than playing around with blog colours. :p


Friday, 10 July 2009

Something About Ninjas

Friday, Friday, Friday. The weekend is here! Two more weeks until we get married. Just over a week until I get to see my parents and two youngest siblings, and then a few more days after that my brother and older sister. It's going to be great!

Last Sunday, we went to church in Kochi city. We spent some time at a wedding hire place, trying on respective suits and dresses. We decided not to hire anything from there. Neither of us has our wedding costume yet, but we still have two weeks, right? Actually, my parents are going to find a suit for me tomorrow, at a mall in their city in China.

We did some further shopping, at Aeon, where we also ate. Got home pretty late, especially for a "school night".

I taught at Tokawa shougakkou on both Monday and Wednesday. Spent some time trying to sort out domestic travel for my brother and older sister, but we didn't get anything finalised that night. We did, however, get a good deal a couple of days later. One less burden, huh. Still trying to sort out accommodation for my parents for when they stop in Okayama, both on the way here and back.

There was a crazy rainstorm on Tuesday afternoon. I came back to the office because I didn't have afternoon periods at Tokawa chuu, and the heavy rainclouds came over and just dumped their water onto Taisho in one huge torrent.

On Tuesday night, we went out to K-town to see the Book of Hope class that Laurel takes every Tuesday night. I am probably going to take over when she leaves. I also brought my home theatre system and tested my speakers in the church. Sounds good, so we should be using that setup for the music for the wedding.

On Wednesday night we ate at Mika's parents' house. It was yakiniku, and was very nice.

We spent some time at Mika's afterwards looking up wedding clothes online, but didn't make a definite decision about anything.

Last night, we went out for dinner at a local place, while Ps. Taniguchi used the house to take a small bible study with a couple of local high school students. We went for a walk afterwards, which was nice.

We still haven't found a photographer for the wedding. Going to take it easy this weekend -- at least, that's the plan. There are still things to work out, such as Mika's dress and finalising the order of events for the ceremony itself; but everything will be sorted by the day.

Oh, and God is good. ;)

Finally, expect changes to my blog sometime in the not too distant future. I have some ideas about what I want to do, so keep an eye out for that! (It will be pretty obvious when ninjas jump out and throw shuriken at your face).



Saturday, 4 July 2009

Frenetic Fast-paced Formulating

To be honest, even now I don't feel like writing a blog entry. I guess the whole week has been pretty taxing. But I have free time now and it has been just over a week since my last entry. So here goes nothing.

We did go into Kochi city last Saturday. We took a picnic lunch and went to One-park to eat and to let Eddi run around for a bit. After that, we made the obligatory Aeon mall stop. We found the ideal pair of wedding rings, which we will be getting resized before the wedding. We also did some shopping; I got some new clothes (T-shirts and shorts).

A visit to the 100-yen store saw me acquiring a whole lot of useful organisational stuff for my teaching resources in the office. We ate before coming home.

On Sunday it was a regular morning at church. We were, however, invited to eat lunch with our pastor and his wife, which was very nice. We did some grocery shopping before heading back to Taisho. Started to feel the stress of wedding planning. We prayed together that night, which was a little relieving.

I had my meeting at the Kaizen centre in K-town on Monday morning. It went well. They just wanted to make sure I would be extra careful about checking the times for scheduled classes. They also wished me omedetou gozaimasu -- congratulations -- for the recent engagement. ;)

After work, Mika and I headed back to K-town together to try and sort out this Docomo bill issue that I had. We managed to sort out getting access to a detailed bill online but that deadended when we actually tried it on Wednesday night. However, that night, Mika was kind enough to spend over an hour on the phone for me, getting them to agree to a refund on certain costs; and she also had my plan changed so that I should be paying less each month for my keitai!

Anyway, back to Tuesday (since nothing else out worth mentioning happened on Monday). I taught at Tokawa chuugakkou, as usual. I told Igei-sensei about my engagement. She gave a similar reaction to everyone, showing complete surprise. It was fun telling the students that I am getting married very soon, haha.

We ate okonomiyaki that night. Started working on the wedding invitations. I had got some materials from Ryubi in K-town after work. We decided we would hand-make the invitations for everyone that we are giving them to. It ended up taking us until very late Thursday night to get them finished, so I posted off the ones to my various family members in both China and New Zealand yesterday after work.

So we entered July. The month of our wedding! 25th, here we come!

I was at Yoneoku shougakkou from first period on Wednesday morning, which meant a very early start for me. The school is about 40 minutes from here.

We had an awesome little storm on Wednesday evening. It poured really hard for a while and there was thunder rumbling across the sky. As I mentioned, Mika sorted out my Docomo stuff. I cooked dinner while she did that and we watched The Wedding Singer. I didn't see most of the first part because of preparing dinner, but I've seen the movie more than once, so meh.

We also worked on the invitations that night, but were both pretty tired and couldn't get much done. It was good to space it out and take until Thursday night to get them finished -- but it also meant that we both stayed up very late that night. :/

There was no school on Thursday, so I spent the day on Facebook and Wikipedia and resource prep. (printing, laminating, etc.). I managed to keep pretty busy. ^^

We had dinner at an Italian restaurant about five minutes past K-town, called Kitchen Yano. We intend to have the wedding reception there. The food was nice, and the atmosphere is nice too. We think it is an appropriate place. We have a meeting to discuss details next Saturday afternoon (the 11th).

Getting the invitations finished that night was relieving, even though I didn't get to bed until about 1.30am. :/

Had two shougakkou on Friday, which, added to all the other stress so far this week, really tired me out. In the morning, I taught ichi-nensei at Kubokawa shougakkou and in the afternoon it was my regular Shouwa visit. I say regular because I go there often; but the time changes from week to week and I am not scheduled to visit every single week.

We tutored Mei-chan, our Taisho ni-nensei student. She is very clever and is very interested in English, so it is great to see her getting through the exercises that I prepare and really put an effort into learning and improving her English. Now, if only every student in this entire region was as diligent and motivated!

Orally tested students at Tokawa chuu on Tuesday. I was quite disappointed with the san-nensei especially. Their level of English should allow for answering the most basic of questions, but not one could answer "How was your weekend?", a first grade level question, without assistance. :(

Now it is Saturday. We had our first pre-marital counselling session this morning at our church in K-town with Taniguchi-sensei, our pastor. We ate some delicious soba ramen for lunch before coming home. I had a headache and felt very tired so came home to rest. It was good to take a break from everything. Spent time online and just relaxing.

However, back to the fast-paced madhouse that is wedding planning tomorrow. Not much rest for those on a tight schedule!

As a final note, my recent submission to was front-paged yesterday. ^.^