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.
What follows is a gallery (vol. 2) of received invites “in situ” wherever they end up in the world / generally unannotated to protect erstwhile privacy unless publicly shared by recipient.
Overall, 300+ packets mailed. Some will get lost in the mail (speaking from experience) but anyone who doesn’t receive a dossier in the post can create their own as desired, plus checkout the pieces not in your packet.
The 6 (at least) tranches of mailouts had varied contents and packaging as the batches were sent from different countries, using different printers (pro and home) and different iterations of items, specifically a variety/sub-set of:
* Announcement storybook (4 panel, 2 iterations)
* Invite to ceremony (2 panel)
* Invite to party (2 panel)
* RSVP card (pre-stamped for folks in Japan)
* Transportation info card (for folks in Japan)
* Letter to friends (on Grand Oriental Hotel letterhead)
* Gig Poster by Joanna Pag (mini-size via various printers and substrates)
These items are easily found within this archive should you desire further inspection.
At weddings in Japan – unlike in “western” countries, guests usually bring cash in special envelopes as a gift rather than a household appliance or other oddment from a registry. The cash is often in 2 envelopes – one as a “gift” and other the cover their portion of party expenses. Regardless, the notes as fresh and crisp and in a special envelope with appropriate decorations and minimal written sentiments.
The guests are almost always sent on their way with a gift bag of treats with items which reflect the spouses personality (not always the case), or the region or season of the wedding. Anyhow, we took the gift bag part on with great enthusiasm and vigour as we wanted all the guests to take a piece of our heart reflected in hobbies, interests and whatnot.
As it goes, with all the work assembling the gift bags of disparate objects, we neglected to document the items dutifully. Fortunately our pal Robert Scales did a pretty decent job of capturing the assortment which included the following
- Bizen Yakima saké cup – nearby Bizen one of 6 great centres of pottery of Japan, the cups were handmade by master potter Hosokawa-san and fired with no glaze for 2 weeks at 1000 degrees Celsius in a massive kiln
- Note: cups were wrapped in newspaper and packed into hemp cloth drawstring bags
- Matcha tea – from Kyoto, in a metal tin with bamboo accessories: whisk chasen and scoop chashaku
- Gig Poster – the Taisho-era jazz/travel inspired art for the wedding made by Joanna Ambrosio of Ganamo Design (Vancouver/Mexico) and professionally printed (A4) by Fujii Printing
- Sakura oil painting print – from Dave’s Gravelly Beach series, printed A4 by Fujii Printing, signed and number (150)
- Commemorative postcards (2) – featuring paintings by Dave of Rural Caprine Farm’s noted gingko tree in full yellow splendour and haiku postbox (there is the actual postbox on site) of a poem about letters and peaches. Postcard backs designed with Olympia typewriter. Printed by moo.com
- Thank you card – hand-lettered (Japanese and English) by Ryoko, accessorize with stamps from US and Vatican, printed by Fujii Printing
- Incense – ceremonial from Bali
- Ceningan Divers invitation – a special offer from our friends with a dive resort in Bali
- Vendor thank you – round-up of all the vendors who assisted, contributed etc to the wedding, including URLs for thanks and reviews etc.
- Gift bag – blue heavy corrugated paper bags with string handles from Usigaya decorated by hand with a special ink stamp (thanks parents) and gold/silver paint marker flag flourish (by Dave)
- Finally, a special “typewriter card” paper clipped to each one to make unique and washi tape to close each bag.
All the materials were ordered, delivered etc and then moved to the goat farm’s kitchen table where dear helpful pals (under supervision of lawyer Lindsay and the Jen-eral) assembled and moved down to the goat farm so the area looked like a splendid festive morning. Then, each guest (mostly) received their bag with (hopefully) delight.
Note to self: there is a snap somewhere of the guide to assembling gift bags to add here.
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.
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.
Watching my every each step
Is the task at hand
So i’ll watch yours instead
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):
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:
Furthermore, to prepare for the ceremony, i present a photo gallery of the shrine and grounds… beginning with the traditional Torii gate which separates the home of deity from the regular city life.
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.
Shinto wedding vow, Read by Dave and Ryoko in Unison at Munetade Jinjya (shrine), April 20, 2019
Phoneticized from Japanese by Ryoko (Fujita) Olson Note: copy provided for shrine for convenience of any future non-Japanese literate marriage candidates.