Tag Archives: nihon

Japanese Culture and Language Primer

A few notes and tips and phrases compiled for guests coming to wedding but likely useful for most anyone coming to Japan. 

Culture-ness

Remember you must always have your passport with you (stupid but hey… rules is).

Shoes are never worn in homes, change into slippers (which will never ever fit), then different slippers for toilet, don’t forget to change back (you will forget), socks only in tatami (straw mat) rooms.

Big stores / malls often offer tax-refund. Gotta take receipt, passport and credit card (if used) to special kiosk. They will stick receipt and stamp in passport, weird but hey, ya get money back.

Don’t walk and smoke. Hang in front of konbini store, pachinko, find smoking cage, or smoking section of resto or park. 

Can drink alcohol on streets and parks however… no sloppiness, penalties/jail harsh.

Language Primer

Handy Phrases:

  • Konnichiwa = Hello
  • Chotto matte = Just a moment/please wait
  • Hai = yes
  • Iie or Chigaimasu = no / different or wrong
  • Douzo = go ahead, please (this is super handy!)
  • Sugoi! = Great! Amazing! i.e.: How is Japan? Sugoi!
  • Suimasen = excuse me (used allll the time as is Go-men which is like “sorry”)
  • Kudasai = please i.e. “Kohi o kudasai” = “coffee please” 
  • Domo, Domo Arigato, Domo arigato gozaimasu = thanks, thanks a lot, thank you very very much
  • Jaa ne / Matta ne = See you / again
  • Toire (toilet) doko desuka? = where is the toilet (there are more trad words for toilet “benjo” and “o teirei” but the Japanese-i-fied english word is easiest
  • Konbini = convenience store (7-11, Lawson, Family Mart are plentiful & amazing)

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Shinto Wedding Vow / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Shinto wedding vow, read by Dave and Ryoko in unison at Munetade Jinjya (shrine), April 20, 2019 (Heisei 31)

Phoneticized from Japanese (for Dave’s convenience) by Ryoko (Fujita) Olson.

Note: additional hand-written copy provided for shrine for convenience of any future non-Japanese literate marriage candidates.

Importantly transported, rolled and protected by cat. Socks and sandals optional

Goat Farm Party 35mm Film photos, vol. 2 / Dave + Ryoko 4-21 Kekkon-shiki

Guests were also encouraged to take a snap with 1 of 3 instant camera to stick into a guestbook along with a signature with a paint pen

From the wedding bonus ceremony and party at Rural Caprine Farm on April 21, 2019 (Heisei 31) comes a variety of snaps created with a Pentax point and shoot with 35mm film about 25 years old. Note “panorama” layout on some photos and LED date snap (obv not accurate) showing some erstwhile vintage-ness.

Along with these 35mm snaps, the wedding party guests were encouraged to pick up one of several Fuji (not Poloroid) insta-photo camera to document their experience – Lee and Emily and others also kept these devices clicking.

Thanks to photographer Kris Krüg and artist Emily Olson for curation of gear and keeping the snaps snapping.

Film was processed, prints were scanned and results presented here without distinct order curation but with some minor colour correction/enhancing. Note date stamp (obv not accurate) and panorama layout with black bars.

Dashing Yuasa-san, part 1
Dashing Yuasa-san, part 2
Niece Emily and my brother James mugging, part 1
Niece Emily and my brother James mugging, part 2
Sharp Shimizu-san being sharp, part 1

Continue reading Goat Farm Party 35mm Film photos, vol. 2 / Dave + Ryoko 4-21 Kekkon-shiki

Goat Farm Party 35mm Film photos, vol. 1 / Dave + Ryoko 4-21 Kekkon-shiki

Variety of photographic documentation tools used at the Goat Farm wedding party, April 21, 2019 (Heisei 31)

From the wedding bonus ceremony and party at Rural Caprine Farm on April 21 2019 (Heisei 31) comes a variety of snaps created with a Pentax point and shoot with 35mm film about 25 years old. Note “panorama” layout on some photos and LED date snap (obv not accurate) showing some erstwhile vintage-ness.

Along with these 35mm snaps, the wedding party guests were encouraged to pick up one of several Fuji (not Poloroid) insta-photo camera to document their experience – Lee and Emily and others also kept these devices clicking.

Thanks to photographer Kris Krüg and artist Emily Olson for curation of gear and keeping the snaps snapping.

Film was processed, prints were scanned with results presented without distinct order curation but with some minor colour correction/enhancing. 

Ring-bearer and goat friend, nephew Lee Olson
Mr. Kobayashi displays piglets ready for slow spit roasting
Groom Dave’s bearded jaw, suitcase for envelopes, bamboo drinking vessel etc.
Bride Ryoko and Groom Dave enjoy a dance while pals look on affectionately

Continue reading Goat Farm Party 35mm Film photos, vol. 1 / Dave + Ryoko 4-21 Kekkon-shiki

Welcome Packet + Maps / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

For the international guests coming for the wedding celebrations, we wanted to make travel easy so we produced a Travel Dossier and series of videos to help with all the “macro” logistics of coming to Japan and getting around easily.

Then for the “micro” logistics around Okayama and wedding-related events, we assembled Welcome Packets which were distributed (with some customization) to the guests’ hotels.

The packets in general included maps of the local area, in particular, a great English-language map by Next-Trip which included the 2 primary hotels and various coffee shops and fave restaurants along with the popular tourist sites (castle, gardens, museums etc). To top it off was a few business and/or event cards for other useful shops and exhibits.

Additionally, we stashed a “Japanese Basic Vocab” sheet with handy phrases and a transportation sheet which had instructions for taxi drivers in Japanese and English to aid in getting to various venues. Plus an itinerary of the events, times and locations.

Finally, there was Google Map of venues and Whatsapp group chat channel for on-the-go digital updates.

There were a couple of special young ones coming for the shindig so they received a special welcome packet designed to help them make scrap-journals of their trip. As such, included scissors, glue sticks, stickers, pens, letter/note sets, and blank books with hearty paper – all compiled in a vinyl zippered pouch.

As evidenced by sweet Emily Olson upon her return to Canada, the scrapbooks proved to be a handy way to document a journey in “real-time” with paper ephemera and others papery bits.

For the record, the narrative from the itinerary doc is included, more or less intact.

Continue reading Welcome Packet + Maps / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Japan Travel Ephemera Scrapbook / Shinkonryoko Ramble

On our Shinkonryoko (honeymoon) travel, we rambled around Japan via various trains, occasional rental car, trams, busses and a coach visited pals, museums, hot springs and natural locales while staying at an assortment of accommodation types (ryokan, “western” hotels, guest houses/minshuku, friend’s homes, resort hotel etc). Note: extensive documentation of all these elements elsewhere.

Anyhow, as is my routine, i gathered ephemeral papery items (tickets, brochures, maps, coasters) and glue/2x taped into a scrapjournal along with insta-photos, scraps of poetry/prose, words which stuck in my head (possible band names) and topped off with a few stickers, stamps and seals.

Then photographed the whole tome for archival and sharing purposes. (Some pages include “pop up/fold out” elements which may or may not be pictured. Provided as-is here without additional annotations as the purpose is emotional, not purely documentary.

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Rolling Elsewhere: Joetsu to Tokamachi, Niigata, Japan (excerpts)

Scenes out the window on a train ride from Joetsu to Tokamachi in Niigata, Japan, including stops at various stations. No narration or whatnot. This is all, roll on pleasantly.

Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Watching my every each step

Is the task at hand

So i’ll watch yours instead

Continue reading Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Rolling Elsewhere – Thunderbird Limited Express Train (excerpts), Japan

Just rolling ambient views looking out window at countryside and stations in-situ while aboard the Thunderbird Limited Express train – from Shin-Osaka station toward Kanazawa via Kyoto.

No narration, or whatnot. This is all, roll on pleasantly. 

PS There are more, plenty. 

 

Tea Ceremony in Sketches

A loose translation of the poem on the scroll in the alcove

My darling Ryoko studies Japanese tea ceremony with a group of others from Okayama and Kurashiki. Recently i was invited along to a special tea-drinking session at her sensei Ms. Matsuke’s house (she’s moving house so wanted to do one last one shindig at her home). 

We gather around, have some snacks and chat while setting up and then convene in a room to go through the process. As a new-un to the routine, i sketched a variety of quick scribbles to remind myself the process and find the moment of stillness (not always easy for this eager fella). Brief notes accompany the sketches. 

The general set up of the tea room with the alcove, scroll of poetry, brazier, tatami mats on floors – otherwise intentionally sparse.

Continue reading Tea Ceremony in Sketches