Archive for the ‘The Wedding’ Category

What’s Been Keeping Us Busy

December 23rd, 2008 Comments off


This was a mad, mad Autumn for Sachi and me, but particularly for me in terms of business and projects. First there were the two weddings, and if you have ever been through this before, then you know how hard just one wedding can be; two is impossible, or it would have been if my sister had not taken on the lion’s share of the burden for us for the U.S. wedding. But right after the wedding, my college had an accreditation review, which occupied me full-time and then some for the three to four weeks following the wedding. After that, I had to focus on the Arts Day Festival at my school, as I was in charge of leading the video presentation team, and had to edit the video. After that, we had course registration, which meant a lot of database entry, student counseling, schedule construction, and so forth for me. This was closely followed by a hiring process which has quite a bit of work to it, and after that came preparation for graduation, which coincided with giving and then grading final exams, after which I had to lead up the discipline meetings for students.

In short, it was only this week that I finally had some free time to myself. Part of that time I spent researching HDTV’s and deciding which one to buy. The other part, especially after the purchase was made, was dedicated to getting our wedding stuff made.

This is the kind of thing that most normal people get done soon after the wedding, but my schedule at work pretty much precluded that, especially since we wanted to do more than just send thank-you notes to everyone. First, I designed and printed out two versions of New Year’s cards (nengajo in Japanese) to send out to people in Japan who had been on the periphery of the wedding activity but had not attended; Sachi took care of note-writing and addressing. The same design we used for printing out about 50 or so photo versions which we used to add the thank-you note (written on the back), added to other photos we would send (printed with our nice new Pixus 360 mini photo printer). We also printed out some photos from the weddings, especially for those who were less able to use and print on their own from digital versions.

But the core of the preparation was a two-disc set that had taken most of the time preparing. The first is a video DVD with about a half-hour of material. Part was the two videos I prepared for the Japan wedding, one which was a video and photo montage of the U.S. wedding, prepared in the week between the two events; the other video was the photo slideshow/montage showing images of Sachi and myself from birth to the present day, a standard at Japanese weddings. It also contains a video version of the “Luis & Sachi Quiz” we had at the Tokyo reception. Added to that was video from the Japan wedding and another photo montage. Sachi and I added a brief intro video in English and Japanese. The other disc is a CD with the best images from the weddings, every one resized down to manageable resolution (some of the originals were huge). Hopefully, most people’s DVD players should be able to handle this disc also, and display the photos on TVs.

After preparing the discs, I had to burn them–a job still about 30% not done. We have 60 or so sets to make, 120 discs in all. Not an easy process. Then I have to print labels for every one of them, then write notes on all the cards we include, then pack them up with appropriate labeling and ship them off. The first set of 19 were shipped out last night, and Sachi and I spent all day, from about 9 am to 8 pm, getting this much done. The set we sent out last night was for overseas recipients, and that tab was the biggest–$45 to ship them all. Materials weren’t so bad–a DVD-R and CD-R cost about fifty cents, the labels added another few cents, and printed photos another few cents per image. So three bucks a pop isn’t killing us or anything. It’s just the work involved in the volume….


I already discovered my first flub in the project: I forgot to send one of my aunts and her son in Spain the PAL version of the DVD. They won’t be able to play the NTSC versions… so two more packages will have to be sent out! Hopefully that’ll be the worst of it.

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September 30th, 2008 13 comments

Sachi and I just got our wedding photos from our guy in Japan, and we are very, very impressed. He worked for about six hours at the wedding all told, and his fees were very reasonable. He was unobtrusive, mostly in the background, and I was not aware of him most of the time.

We just got the photos–express-mailed to us just three days after the wedding. In that time, he sorted them into groups, saved them onto 4 DVD-Rs, and printed contact sheets, including them in clear-plastic binder sleeves. And the images–all 435 of them at 21 megapixels–were very well-taken. He covered everything, getting good photos of everyone, with some really great shots in there.

We are really very, very pleased. It’ll take a while to get through all of these, and we’ll have to resize all of them (they average at about 15 MB each), but we could not have asked for better. This is a guy who used to work for my school, taking photos of events there. If you need photos taken in the Tokyo area, you should call this guy. His name is Yuichi Yoshitomi, and his business number is 042-332-5771. If you want his email address or other business information, leave a comment and an address I can reach you at.

Here are a few sample images from the first disc, with 1200-pixel-or-better blow-ups on click:







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Married, for the Third Time

September 27th, 2008 5 comments

Sachi and I just got back from dinner with the family. It was a good day. We got married in March, but just by paperwork, and again last week, in the United States, with family. This was, in a way, our third marriage.

We woke up early this morning, knowing we had to go to the wedding planner’s office by about 10 am. Sachi’s family had arrived the night before, and were staying at the Sunshine Prince Hotel, just a few blocks away. We met, and Sachi took her mother by taxi for some mother-daughter time, and her father, Junzo, and I took the subway. Junzo had not been to Tokyo much and was not used to its ways, but stuck to it like a trouper.

At the wedding hall, Junzo and I waited for a few hours while Sachiko underwent the hair-and-makeup treatment. As before, she came out looking beautiful. We were taken by car to the wedding hall (just a few blocks away, but we would have looked odd walking in a wedding dress and tuxedo). As guests started to arrive, I set up the computer and tested the connections. While we had already given the music coordinator the CDs, I had to manage the Skype connection (everyone seemed to love the fact that my father spoke to use by video chat on the hall’s big screen), show two movies I had made with iMovie (a photo montage of Sachi and I growing up, meeting, and marrying, and a video of the U.S. wedding from a week ago), and manage a slide show for the wedding’s main activity–the “Luis & Sachi Quiz.” My brother was among the two winners with 16 of 19 answers correct.

While (I hope) everyone had good food and good, relaxed conversation, Sachi and I were kind of trotted around like show horses some of the time, the staff giving us directions on what to do and where to go at any given time. It felt strange, inviting all of these people to come join us, and then have the Emcee on our behalf ask everyone to give us standing ovations as we stood on a balcony and waved down to everyone. But maybe that was just me.

In the manner of most weddings in Japan, we gave everyone gifts on their seats; in the past weddings I had attended, it was always a bit awkward, as they had to choose a one-gift-fits-all kind of thing, so everyone would get some cookies and a mug or something. A new wrinkle is instead to give guests photo albums presently stuffed with pages from gift catalogs, so they could choose the gift they like, ordering it and getting it by Takkyubin. I like that system a lot better.

In the end, it was somewhat of a spectacle, a bit of a union of friends and family in celebration, and a bit of an emotional release. After dinner with the family, which went quite well, we came back home and had a good, happy cry and fell even more deeply in love.

It was a good day.

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September 20th, 2008 7 comments

Though we officially got married in the Toshima Ward city hall six months ago, that was just paperwork–we didn’t even raise a hand and swear to do anything. Just signing papers. They wouldn’t even give us a wedding certificate–they asked us why we would want such a thing. But we were officially husband and wife.

Well, if that made us legally married, today made us feel really married. After a week of heavy planning, buying, checking, rechecking, and so forth, the big day came, and we had the ceremony in the United States with our family. Despite a few minor hiccups, the event went very, very well. We came to the Gatehouse just after noon. The Gatehouse is a kind of semi-public house on the same plot of land with Menlo Park’s city hall, police station, library, and sports center. It is surrounded by brush and trees, with a nice yard with a fountain. You can rent it out for occasions, as we did.

We dragged in the chairs, the audio equipment, and all of our gear. Sachi came in and the hairdresser got started on her. With a team of four assistants, they got her ready faster than expected, and the photographer could get more good shots done than we expected. Then guests started arriving, and things got crazy as I was still setting up the video cameras, we were still taking portrait shots, and I wanted to greet so many relatives I had not seen for years and years.

Eventually, we got to the ceremony and it went more or less flawlessly. Sachi and I said our vows with tears in our eyes, put rings on each other’s fingers, and kissed. Husband and wife, Mendelsohn’s march, and then more photos. And a few more photos. Then chatting while we short-handedly rushed to put everything back in the cars and prepped to go to the restaurant. Everyone was great. Relatives came in from Oregon, southern California, Sacramento, and even the east coast. All for a few hours of ceremony and dinner. We love them all.

After a great meal and as much talking as we could cram in, we called it a night–had to, as we leave early tomorrow morning for the airport. We leave the house before 9am Sunday, and will arrive in Japan late afternoon or early evening Monday–then Tuesday we have a meeting with wedding planners and a wedding rehearsal to attend.

That’s for our second wedding in Tokyo, a week from today.

We’re tired!

But we’re having great fun. The video seems to have turned out fairly well (three cameras, one not placed as well as I’d hoped), and the photographer should be getting the images to us fairly soon. When all that comes in, I’ll make another post with full details.

But right now we’re beat, and have to pack. More later.

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September 13th, 2008 1 comment

I took these photos a little while ago but forgot to post on them. THese are our new wedding rings, back from the ring shop (they took a few weeks to put the inscriptions in them).


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Wedding Gifts

June 18th, 2008 Comments off

Sachi and I visited Subir (the wedding hall people who will be handling our wedding) to help develop the details of the affair. One thing they told me which kind of surprised me was that not only did they have an Internet connection in the hall, but they could allow to direct control over the hall’s projector and screen from the bride & groom’s dais table. I can have my Mac sitting there, and can control the show on my own–start the videos, engage the Skype calls, even control the music when I am not otherwise occupied. Pretty cool. Sachi was amused–she understands my inner geekness.

But something that surprised me more was a really great wedding gift system, different from what I thought was usual. In Japan, the married couple don’t receive gifts from the guests–they give gifts to the guests. The guests instead offer money–from maybe ¥10,000 ~ 20,000 for the acquaintances and friends to maybe ¥50,000 for the company bigwigs. The bride and groom supply everyone with a small set of presents. In my experience, this has always been in the form of a goodie bag–everyone finds it on or next to their seat, or is handed one as they leave; each bag has the same contents, which usually must be generalized in order to appeal to a broad range of tastes. Usually it’s stuff like cookies and cakes, or maybe the odd nicknack–a coffee mug or letter opener or the like.

WedalbumBut the system shown to us by Subir is far better. Instead of a goodie bag, everyone at the wedding gets a small photo album. The photo album is temporarily filled with a small catalog of gifts, almost like a wedding registry in reverse. Once home, the wedding guest decides which gift they’d like and orders it, then gets it by delivery. Then the guest can discard the contents of the album and use it as their own photo album; the married couple might even send everyone a starter set of photos taken at the wedding.

This strikes me as a great idea; usually the wedding goodie bags are nice, but relatively useless; the gifts are so generalized as to lose their appeal. Apparently this system has only taken off in the past few years.

Funny side point: the company that makes the album is named “My Precious.” Apparently they never read The Lord of the Rings. Or maybe they did but didn’t really get it.

Next task: write up, print out, and send out the wedding invitations. We’ve already bought the cards, that was the easy part. We also have to… well, almost everything. A long list. One day at a time.

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Wedding Preview Dinner

May 28th, 2008 3 comments

Sachi and I have decided to go with an outfit called “Subir” to do our wedding this September. A few weeks ago, they treated us to a sample dinner so we could choose the dishes to be served. About ten or so couples were there for that particular dinner. We were served two versions of each course, and allowed to decide which one to go with.

First, they led us through the wedding hall again. The good news: they do have an Internet connection, which means that my family in California can “attend”; I don’t know what kind of view we’ll be able to give them, but they can make a video appearance for everyone at the hall in real time via Skype, on the big screen.


Here’s the view Sachi and I will have, from that table up on the dais. They tell us we can get down from there and sit at an ordinary table at some point, which I would prefer; I’d rather not be on display like that all afternoon.


A table setting:


They take service pretty seriously at Subir. Whenever guests go through doors, for example, they have two people at either side so they can open both doors at the same time for you, in a bit of dramatic flair. Their service people are very helpful, attentive, and polite. Here, the chef introduces the serving staff:


They begin you off with some appetizers, and some drinks, including wine and champagne. If we understood them right, it’s an open bar, all you can drink.


For the first course, we chose this dish, smoked salmon crepe with vegetables in raspberry sauce with vinaigrette. Keep in mind that this is a lunch menu, by the way; we start at 1:00 pm, if I recall correctly.


The next dish, also fish, was a fried tai, or sea bream, in a white wine sauce.


For the entrée, we chose a very nice chicken filet dish:


Along with that, you get a nice salad with rolls:


After that is wedding cake:


And to top it off, they have a chocolate fountain, with strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, and bananas.


This is the meal all the guests who attend will get. It was pretty good. The wedding will be on Saturday, September 27, very soon after we get back from our wedding in the U.S.

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March 17th, 2008 21 comments

It’s official, if not fêted yet. Sachi and I went to city hall today (which is, after all, a Taian day) and signed all the papers needed. No sweat, we had all the paperwork done, and just had to dot a few “i”s; the whole thing took less than an hour, and we were married. The certificate comes in a week, but it’s all official as of now. (I’ve been telling people, “You can call me Mister Poza now!”) Afterwards, we went to Starbucks and had a coffee and snack, but then Sachi had to go off to work. But we’ll be celebrating better tonight, we have reservations at a nice restaurant–one on the 58th floor of a skyscraper that overlooks our apartment building.

Here are a few snaps from this morning, one before we got married and one just after:



…And that’s when a giant white owl sat on her head. Actually, we asked a person sitting in the park to snap this for us, and, well, you get what you pay for. A nice shot, but the owl statue behind Sachi does kind of distract you a bit.

The ceremonial stuff happens in September. We’ll travel to the U.S. and have a small, private ceremony there with some friends and family, and then in late September (another Taian day, naturally) we’ll have a ceremony and reception here in Tokyo, at a nice wedding/restaurant place. The one we saw in Akasaka looked best, though we still haven’t decided.

Anyway, the deal is officially done today, and that’s what’s most important.

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