John and Chie's Wedding in Japan

Wedding - John and Chie's Wedding in Japan


Friday 8th December 2006

The big day itself. First a traditional Shinto ceremony at Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima, the island where some of Chie's family are from. Next the reception on a cruise liner that took us from Miyajima to Hiroshima. Finally the "nijikai" or second party at an Irish Pub in the city centre.

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11:54:33 Just to make absolutely sure everyone understands exactly where we are, here's an initial picture of Miyajima's famous "umi no tori" - which roughly translates as sea gate.

11:54:48 As you can see the skies were unfortunately a bit grey and murky but at least the rain held off!

13:16:17 So here's a picture of me and Chie just after changing into our traditional Japanese wedding costumes, standing on the decks (if that's the right word?) of Itsukushima shrine.

13:19:45 Chie and her little sister Yuka, also in traditional Japanese costume.

13:20:31 Chie with her parents.

13:21:44 This is Chie Yaniyagiya-san, our wedding organiser, who was jolly nice indeed.

13:22:35 Also a picture of us both with Nagao-kun, our photographer for the day, also a jolly nice chap.

13:25:12 The sign outside the waiting room for the main wedding group - I was rather pleased to see my name here!

14:06:00 There follow a few pictures taken during the Shinto ceremony itself - I gave my camera to David who had a bit of a hard time getting a good place to see from! So anyway, here's me entering the ceremony room.

14:06:16 Me walking up to the sort of altar thing...

14:06:29 ...and Chie following behind (apparently this is the tradition in Japan - who am I to argue with that?).

14:07:31 This gives a bit of an idea of the layout of the room where the ceremony was held - the family sit on two rows of seats, and Chie and I were at the front (just off the left hand side of the photo here) with the priests etc.

14:11:27 At various points during the ceremony there were short bursts of traditional Japanese music, and here are the musicians.

14:19:14 A bit blurred and difficult to see unfortunately (lighting was difficult in this room) but this is the bit where Chie and I have to do a sort of sake drinking ritual. Clearly a bit of a highlight for me!

14:20:25 A bit of detail of the interior design.

14:23:22 Here we're standing at the front reading out the Shinto equivalent of wedding vows.

14:27:52 Towards the end of the ceremony the whole family are also served with sake.

14:28:49 I think this is the final bow at the end of the ceremony (or maybe the final Kanpai!?).

14:32:30 Here we are now emmerging from the ceremony and greeting our guests.

14:32:39 Albeit a bit blurred, oddly I quite like this picture of my friend Tanaka-san looking with what seems to be slight bewilderment at my costume...

14:32:57 This is a nice side-on shot of Chie as she processes out from the ceremony.

14:33:45 My friend David from work and his wife Megumi-san.

14:33:56 David and Tanaka-san.

14:34:27 Here's all the guests now processing out into the open air for a round of photographs.

14:34:49 Obviously the official camera man was standing face on for all of these pictures, but these "unofficial" group shots all appear to have been taken at a bit of an angle. So anyway, here's me, Chie along with her parents, grandparents and little sister.

14:35:00 Same setup again.

14:35:08 Chie and I spent a lot of time having slight adjustments made to our posture and costumes by the cameraman and assorted assistants.

14:35:37 A gaggle of wedding guests with the main shrine building behind them.

14:35:51 I think David still had the camera here and had chosen to , err, experiment with composition a bit.

14:36:47 A bit hard to see the wood for the trees here! Obviously the official photographs will look a bit more like the sort of shots you'd usually expect at a wedding...!

14:38:01 Women in Japan put a lot of effort into doing their hair when going to weddings, and I feel this picture may have been paying hommage to that.

14:38:09 David and Megumi-san again - I guess Tanaka-san is in posession of the camera now.

14:39:06 I have to admit I enjoyed all the attention from our guests, being in Japan they of course all had their own cameras with them. Felt a bit like being a film star for a day.

14:39:20 Me, Chie and her uncle Masa-aki-san.

14:41:24 A big group shot with all Chie's friends in.

14:41:44 I think Haruka-kun was notably missing from the first picture, and so this was taken to compensate for that.

14:42:48 I really like this final picture of me in Japanese costume - with Tanaka-san, and the "umi no tori" behind us.

15:10:51 After a quick change of attire, it was off to the good ship Ginga (or Galaxy in English) for the reception - it seemed only appropriate to get in a picture of this fine vessel.

16:01:16 Me and Chie on the decks, in our second set of costumes (very typical for a Japanese wedding).

16:01:24 Another shot in the same place, a bit blurred but I think I actually prefer it over the first.

16:29:04 In the reception on the boat now - I was really busy with assorted greetings, speeches etc and so hardly got any time to take any pictures. Anyway, here's a picture of the divinely cute Kittichan - Dale and Erina's little girl.

16:29:30 There was a great turn out from Chie's friends - here we've got Hiromuchan, Kanako, Junchan and Hide-san.

18:32:10 ...and that's it as far as pictures (on my camera at least) of the reception go. I told you I was busy! This is actually taken back in the dress hire place later on - I wanted to get one last shot in our costumes.

18:32:41 ...oh and another one including Chie's Mum and her friend.

20:07:43 So after yet another change of clothes, here we are at the "nijikai" - the second party, which is just for the couple's friends. Here's Niga-san, Manachan and Aoki-san. Aoki-san has to be the Olympic champion for being fashionably late - he managed to miss not only the ceremony but the main reception as well, and so was basically just there for the final party...

20:08:03 Actually until some time after 8 there were only a few of us there at the nijikai - basically just two of Chie's friends and the people I'd invited. Everyone else seemed to take ages over getting changed etc...

20:29:00 ...finally though by 8:30 it seems the majority of people had arrived...

20:29:10 From left to right, Hiromuchan, Junchan, Kanako, Masashi-san and Yumippe.

20:31:30 A few more of Chie's friends including Kayochan and Junchan.

20:32:27 Erm, seems to be the same group of people as the picture-before-last.

20:32:47 Me and Haruka-kun, who was brimming with enthusiasm and a thoroughly great wedding guest throughout the whole day. I think he said omedeto gozaimasu (congratulations) on average once every four minutes right from start to finish.

21:14:12 A sneaky peek over to smoker's corner.

21:43:32 Me and Chie's little sister Yuka-chan.

21:44:42 Another (somewhat jumbled) group shot similar to the one before, but this time with Chie in as well.

21:45:32 I still maintain that the ketchup bottle was an inspired addition to this photo.

22:49:08 Me and David, looking a bit odd.

00:12:08 Well I think we're coming towards the end now, and so just time for a few last group shots... here's me with Aoki-san and Tanaka-san, friends from work. The three of us had all worked closely together on the same project over the last year or so, and I think this may actually be the only "team shot" I've got.

00:13:02 Another shot of me with star wedding guest Haruka-kun - honestly, he could make a business out of it!

00:14:07 The classic Japanese "ryoutei ni hana" (a flower in each hand) shot.

00:17:14 It seemed necessary to expand this notion out somewhat...

00:17:25 ...nice!

00:58:06 A last shot with me and Aoki-san taken outside the pub, before we said our farewells for the evening.

01:20:02 Back at the hotel we did a round of the guests rooms delivering wedding presents (in Japan the couple also give presents to the guests), and as they were all sitting so nicely I felt a picture was in order.

01:31:02 A final shot of me and Chie (in our third outfits of the day).