In planning for the wedding party at Mr. Mac Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm, we set out to transform his goat barns into a 1920s-ish Taisho-era-esque jazz lounge meets eclectic nature retreat. We needed places for band to set-up to play comfortably, for ceremony with seating and small stage, for a grand table for bride and groom, an area to have guest book and photo booth, stash gift bags, make name tags and choose and decorate custom bamboo cup, plus dancing, chilling, serving food, cooking food (bar–b-que spits), and also 10+ beverage stations including a tea ceremony experience and oh yeah, an area for mothers and babies to chill out.
In all this planning came the following sketches (executed by Ryoko), shared here for posterity and amusement. (Note: possibly more sketches to follow).
Oh and these were used by Oka-sensei who constructed stages and backdrops and other staging in a truly remarkable manner and by friends who set up stations and decorations on the morning of the event.
Note: more evidence of the results are found elsewhere in this archive.
While me and Ryoko’s wedding will be a litttlllle bit unique, there are some very traditional aspects to our 3-day event, notably the Shinto ceremony at Munetada Jinjya (shrine).
This shrine is in the neighbourhood where Ryoko grew up and it is a day-to-day working shrine meaning its not a tourist attraction, rather they are active participants in the community and the usual place where folks go to ask for blessings on the birth of babies, safe travel, scholastic success and secret dreams.
I’ve studied the ceremony overview from the shrine with great interest (albeit with machine translation):
PS of particular interest is part 4 of the ceremony which includes a purification rite, which says and uses the proper kanji character for cannabis 大麻 – not totally sure what this means but the wedding is on 4/20 so appropriate in a manner:
4. Aoi-no-gi (Cannabis) (Hai no Toi) Ui no Uta (Cannabis) I will ask you before the ceremony. We will treat the bride and groom and all the guests with cannabis. During this time, keep your head down.
Here are a few more articles which provide a bit of background about the routine and background of Shinto weddings:
Along our shinkonryoko (honeymoon) travel, there were many chances to sign guestbooks, write notes for folks, as well as fill our booklets with inky stamps to commemorate being somewhere. As it goes, here are a few mediocre snapshots of hastily scribbled words for archival purposes.
More artifacts may be added to this post later as sorting and curating continues. Carry on.
Wedding Speech, Delivered by Neal Cropper at Rural Caprine Farm, April 21, 2019
(Written by Dave Olson with Neal Cropper)
<Neal> Dear assembled beautiful people,We come together today from all over the world, bridging countries and cultures, to witness the next chapter in an ongoing Okayama love story.
Indeed it was here at this lovely farm that Ryoko and Dave first met. Like all true love, there’s is a completely unique story / this Okayama love story features a drifting painter slash poet and a sunny arborist slash jazz singer finding each other at a friend’s farm at the exact moment that they were both ready to begin this new life.
Since then, the relationship has flourished into one of mutual respect, shared interest, many laughs, and sparking more love each day.Love stories are all different, but the great ones always share a foundation of working together with common interests and passions. In this case, a mutual love of art, music, nature, creativity, compassion, living slow and simple, and building a community of friends.
On this Shinkonryoko (honeymoon) ramble, we ventured from our home in Okayama to various locations, most of which are noted on the accompanying map. We had planned a tentative map a few months earlier but streamlined the ramble a bit for logistics and keep tuned-in to calm locations.
So many trains, various accoms, pals, museums & kisses. Back where we started at Tsuchida cottage, Okayama.
Next up: spouse visa application, so many thank you cards & documentation (scrapbooks, photos, archiving), and fixing up our lil home (and more kisses)
Update: May 24, 2019
Spouse visa underway! Immigration office was well… an immigration office and not very pleasant but we jumped through appropriate hoops, scribbled necessary information, turned in various photos and the like and celebrated with a burger.
One of our objectives on the honeymoon ramble was to visit and pay respectful greetings to various friends including bringing custom bizen-yake saké cups and various paper artifacts from the wedding.
Here are a few snapshots from these meeting to document and enjoy.
First off, wise Hongo Sensei in Noto, Ishikawa. Ichiro was Ryoko’s professor and mentor at Nihon University including a few international trips to Indonesia and Russia.
In Noto (at the end of a peninsula jutting into the Sea of Japan), we stayed at his home in a refurbished fishing boat / fish processing building right on the port (required extensive fixing up after an earthquake/tsunami in 2011 iirc). He took us for a beach picnic and small museums about fisheries and Jomon-period life.