Several months ago, my brother, Anthony, announced that he had asked Nana to marry him and that they were planning the wedding in Japan. Last week, we were in Japan for the wedding and it was fantastic and beautiful. Mom and I had never been to Japan and weren’t quite sure what to expect. We flew out on Monday from Phoenix to Los Angeles and then on to Korea for a five hour layover where we discovered Soju at 7am when the bars opened. Soju is a Japanese distilled beverage which is sort of like vodka. I then bought an Asahi to help wash the Soju down, but it still was a bit too harsh to drink at 7am. We then went from Korea to Osaka (about a two hour flight) and the whirlwind really began. Nana and her brother picked us up from the airport after we made our way through customs. Riding in the car to our hotel was about an hour drive and we took in all of the visuals along the way. Once we arrived at our hotel and settled in, we went out for a walk around and found shops everywhere. What we found throughout the week is the amazing plethora of shops above and below ground and it seems everyone in Osaka (maybe all of Japan) has really mastered the art of shopping!
Later that first night, we went out to dinner with my brother and Nana and her family. The restaurant was on the 38th floor overlooking downtown Osaka and the Osaka Castle. It was a wonderful dinner and mom started to learn how to use chopsticks. Nana’s family does not speak English, but Anthony and Nana translated for us. The food was amazing as was the atmosphere. Getting to meet Nana’s family and seeing their mannerisms and the intro to their personalities was something I found to be very enjoyable.
The next day, we left early in the morning for breakfast and then all went to Kyoto to see the temples and had a VERY long walk through the city of Kyoto. The temples and scenery were all very beautiful. We had a very nice dinner after and then all sang in a karaoke room. It was definitely a jam packed day of activity and we were pretty exhausted by the time we arrived back at the hotel which I think was around midnight or so.
The wedding day was breathtaking and beautiful. I think everything about it was perfect and as soon as Nana started walking down the aisle toward my brother, the tears just started to flow heavy from my eyes and down my cheeks and I don’t think they stopped until we were into the reception. The food was amazing and while we ate, we enjoyed listening to the various speeches and toasts. Anthony’s best friend gave a speech while his wife translated in Japanese. Anthony’s former boss gave a speech that was also very impressive and talked about Anthony’s dedication, hard work, attitude, loyalty, etc. Hearing that speech and knowing my brother, I was filled with pride. Halfway through the reception dinner, Anthony and Nana left for a while and then came back dressed in komonos and again were just breathtaking.
On our last full day in Japan, we all took a trip out to Nara to see the temples and deer in Nara park. The scenery was perfect as was the weather and Nana’s nephews enjoyed petting the deer.
We left on Monday afternoon for the long journey home. Although the total travel time was 27 hours, we arrived home Monday night in Phoenix (due to the time difference).
It took me quite a while to sift through the hundreds of photos that we took during this trip and pick out a subset to include in this blog entry. Be sure to click the link to view with PicLens to easily scroll through them, or click on each thumbnail individually to view full size as many are very beautiful. I hope you all enjoy them.