A Travellerspoint blog

July 2012

A Warm Reception

Our Japanese Reception Party in Kyoto.

So here we are sitting in a small back-room below a restaurant in Kyoto. Best suits and pretty dresses, I straighten my tie while the make up girl traces the line of Haru's lip with a red brush. This feels like getting married all over again, and in many ways that's exactly what we are doing. It's time for our Japanese reception party, a chance for all our Japanese family and friends who couldn't come to the UK to celebrate our union with us.

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Outside it's a crisp, beautiful autumn day and before the guests arrive we're heading back to the botanic gardens where we had the kimono photo shoot for another, more modern, shoot. Today we're super spies with guns, which might not be as traditional - but it feels a lot cooler!

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It's only a couple of weeks since the last photo shoot, but the colours have really deepened and there are richer reds are all around; going perfectly with Haru's dress.

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Although many of the locations and shots were basically repeated from the previous shoot, I think I enjoyed this one more. The photo below (top left) of us back to back is now my laptop background too.

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There was a good reason for the guns as well. Not only had we used them to make a short spy-thriller movie to entertain our guests with before the party started, but we also used them for our big entrance as well - holding out guests up at gun point 'Pulp Fiction' style... with music from 'Kill Bill'.

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One of our guests caught the whole thing on camera so here it is -
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Don't worry, the 'money' we were stealing was special 'wedding money' I prepared in advance and littered around the tables.

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After that, all the various groups of friends wanted photos with us; Haru's best friends and colleagues, our family, and my guests and overseas visitors.

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Now, one of the biggest differences between an English reception party and a Japanese one is that whilst the former is basically a nightmare of drink, bad dancing and potential violence the latter is more of a variety show designed to entertain and involve the guests.

So our first 'event' was a cake decoration competition with Haru's friends on the Red team and mine on the blue. Who could make the cutest cake design?? Well - my team of course with a cute bear design.

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The couple feeding each other the 'first bite' of the cake is a big tradition here, so I fed Haru a small fork of the winning cake - while she tried to shove a boulder of cream and cake into my mouth. Then, as we had two cakes, we persuaded Nik and Tomoko (the best man and bridesmaid in the UK) to couple up for first bite of the second cake. (Yes, this was a thinly veiled attempt to push them together as everybody thinks they make a good couple. Unfortunately, Nik has a girlfriend back in the UK and has some crazy ideas about being faithful.)

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So far so good, the first Act was drawing to a close now - so it was time to exit stage right, and make a costume change for the second Act. Again this is another typical thing here - at the mid point of the party the couple withdraw, and only to return shortly in different clothes. Normally this allows them to change out of the wedding clothes, and to put on party wear. However, we're doing it in reverse - as we did the wedding a few months ago we decided to start off on our party clothes, and to change into our wedding clothes later.

It's not enough just to walk out though, we have to choose escorts to lead us out - however, after a rigorous selection process ('Eeny, meeny, miney, moe' for my escort and 'Rock, paper, scissors' for Haru's) we were ready to go! I know... I was there and all this still seems a bit complicated to me too!

Anyway, we ended up selecting Atsushi and Hiromi (my brother and sister in Law) and took our leave.

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While we get changed, our guests are watching slide show video about us, our history and our UK wedding (a 'profile video', which is another essential element at any Japanese reception party). When we re-enter we have gift baskets instead of guns, and this time we go around giving a little gift to everybody instead of taking from them.

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We've saved the best for last though, and the final event is my big musical performance. As the guests didn't even know I had any musical talent this announcement comes as a bit of a shock. Two of my friends (Muro Sensei and his wife) have agreed to accompany me on the piano and sax, so they started to play while I prepared myself for my cue - and believe me I hit that triangle perfectly right at the end of the song! Yes, I have no musical talent at all, but they do - and after my cover was blown of the first song that played another for us.

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I can happily say that everything pretty much went according to plan, and I think everybody had a good time, but the party is drawing to a close now. Outside it's getting dark and it's time to call it a day. Final thank you speeches, gifts for Haru's parents, bows and sayonara. The Mitchell's have left the building...

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...but we haven't gone too far away. We see all our guests off individually at the door with one final gift, a photo of us with them at their table... a photo that was taken, processed and printed while we were having the party; that's Japanese service! So that's it, we're officially married on two continents now.

I'll leave you all with a beautiful picture of seagulls, and a rainbow, over lake Biwa that I took a few days later - it's nothing to do with the reception party, but it is very pretty!

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Posted by DKJM74 21:20 Comments (0)

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