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.