I’m Back from Japan

I just got back from an amazing 11 day trip to Japan to attend Nicky and Haruka’s traditional wedding ceremony at a Shinto shrine. You’ll recall they were married here on my lawn in April, but her parents couldn’t attend, so she wanted to have a nice wedding there.

Our trip began in Osaka, where Denis, Nicky and I landed and were met by Haruka. We took the two-hour bus trip to Kyoto, a 2000 year old city where Haruka had found a 300 year old house for us to rent through Air B n B. We then spent three days traipsing about temples, palaces, and a bamboo forest.

It was 30 degrees and very humid, but the house was updated with air conditioning. I had to sleep on the main floor as the steps were so narrow to the second floor I said I’m going to kill myself in the night going down to the bathroom.

In the shower/bathroom, the tub was about four feet deep, and the windows opened out into our own private little garden. So adorable!

Then we flew off to Sapporo and on our way we stopped at a place known as Hell Valley which is called Shikotsu Toya National Park and is an area of hot springs. We stayed at a traditional “onsen” hotel, which means one has natural springs’ hot tubs in the hotel.

Yes, we went in the nude, but men and women are separate, thank God. It was lovely as Haruka and I went to an outdoor tub and were alone there, sitting in the rain. Quite the experience.

After that we headed for an apartment Haruka had rented in downtown Sapporo, her home town, and the site of the wedding. We did things like shop and had a ‘conveyor belt’ sushi dinner at a restaurant with her parents. Literally, plates come by the tables on a moving belt, and you pick whatever you want.

The wedding was on Saturday, and it took the bride and groom three hours to be dressed in their traditional kimonos. Denis and Haruka’s dad were in tuxedos, her mom in a kimono and I wore my own outfit. I could’ve rented a kimono but said why?

All of this was done by the Century Royal Hotel and they had a van which took us to the Hokkaido Shrine. There the beautiful Shinto wedding ceremony took place, with about 15 Sawayas on one side, and two Schiller Doyles on the other.

After the ceremony, in which we all drank Sake as part of it, we went back to the hotel for everyone to change into more comfy clothes, then up to the revolving restaurant on the 22nd floor with a gorgeous view of Sapporo. There we were treated to a most divine eight course dinner that was truly to die for.

The next day the five of us (Haruka’s dear mom Yuka joined us) headed to the town of Niseko where Haruka works. It’s a ski resort and it has a breathtakingly beautiful volcano which is known as ‘Little Fuji’. On the way we stopped at a town by the sea call Otaru which I was nuts about.

And then it was time to fly home, and as usual, I arrived home feeling like a bag of merde due to the extreme time change. It was worth it though.