Tag Archives: wedding

Diary: Officiating 10 Year Wedding Vow for Dear Pals

the bride and groom in rainy Vancouver and official celebrant connected via magic from Okayama. photo by Steph Burns 

Briefly: Officiated 10 Year Wedding Vows for Sheila & Kemp Edmonds via video link from Tsuchida Cottage to Queen Elizabeth park Vancouver – the family joined me in the tatami room as i did my riff (including my poem “How Shall We Fill This Vessel“.

Memo: I also officiated/celebranted their original wedding event (obv) 10 years before at Main St Heritage Hall, Vancouver.

Notes: alcove ikebana (leaves + persimmon) & shodo (calligraphy scroll) by mother-in-law Junkyo Fujita.

Books: Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda & Manyusho (Myriad of Leaves, 8th century Japan, various) & me (in wooden folio hand-carved by Ryoko Olson).

and yes, that is a certificate of officialness / awesomeness 

Bonus w/ ALT text

A gentleman with a mustache, wearing a dark blue kimono holds a carved wooden folio with papers of handwritten poetic texts to officiate a 10 year wedding vow renewal ceremony via videoconference (for a couple in Canada).  Behind is a traditional Japanese alcove with persimmon fruit and leaves in the vase and a certificate of authority with a calligraphy scroll hanging.
Foreground shows a cushion & straw tatami mat floor.

Poem: How Shall We Fill This Vessel? (excerpt for Sheila + Kemp, 10 year)

“How Shall We Fill This Vessel?”

(excerpt of poem – written by me – read at Kemp and Sheila’s wedding vow ceremony)

really unrelated snap, as it goes a tea shack in Sri Lanka

Now, all is deliciously possible
A present to savour
A history to grow
A future to whittle
To any possible shape

So,
How shall we fill this vessel?

Devoid of cynicism and ego,
Jealousy or restraint
With rambunctious affection
In all possible forms
To manifest and articulate
Unabashed tactile Love.

Shall we fill with endless notes
Of spontaneous jazz and
Distant gazes from close range?
Slow dances to quick songs
Languid mornings following
Smouldering nights?

Celebration of the commonplace?
Anticipation of usual happenstance?
Easy banter about nuanced topics?
On verandahs and gazebos a like
Replete with warm drinks
And cool touch?

With fond hellos and
Infrequent goodbyes
As we seek nowhere to go
Desire no escape
In darkness and rain
All yearnings were sent away

Marrow and soul
Now have a purpose, a place
A place to dwell
With you, always
As together we fill
This vessel
Full.

– daveo, Pokhara, Nepal 2017
(photo: Sri Lanka, 2018)

#daveo50 ~ 2011 / 50 years > days > photos

#daveo50 ~ 2011 / passport

Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 2011 / 50 years > days > photos

Memento: Dancing and Pals at a wedding #flashback

Well this is well over a year ago now, but… a few days after our wedding, fellow MaeMae’s band member Hatsumi-san was married at a lovely event to a dashing gentleman who works in the alcohol beverage industry. Ryoko and some other musicians played some music (have video of this somewhere #NoteToSelf).

Aside from all of that, a few snaps surfaced recently which brought back some lovely memories of us dancing, and me hanging out with my pal Hama-san and Ren-san who is the proprietor of “the piano bar” and is on our mind recently as his business is really struggling of course.

Anyhow, this is my memory and these are two snaps and I can’t remember the photographer.

Certificates for Japanese Bookmaking Culture and Ordination

First Alpine School District Adult High School diploma (mailed), then Evergreen State College inter-disciplinary studies baccalaureate, now an online micro-course certificate from Keio University… Yes all the promise of a young man who dominated the science fairs at Prince Charles elementary school have come to fruition —just call me Professor, and/or Reverend (because I have that certificate too – keep reading…). #pyjamalearning

While i am sharing certificates, kindly note this dignified accolade which will come in handy for being a wedding officiant/celebrant in Japan. No big deal. Although deals for friends. Will work for sushi and train fare.

Thank-you Cards (“making of” and delivery evidence) / Kekkon-shiki

settling in for a session of addressing, signing, inking, glueing, stamping and stickering these cards to prepare for a journey

Following our wedding festivities, we dutifully and cheerfully made up several batches of thank you cards to sent to folks who made the trip or sent gifts or letters/cards. 

Thank you card source materials, ready for scissor, glue, ink and substrate
a stack all ready to go, with special stamps and stickers and sparkly envelopes

While each batch of cards was different – and some cards required boxes and packets – the general design aesthetic captured in exquisite little photo essay created by nature photographer Cheryl A. (you should check out her cards for sale) which captures the details of the envelope treatment:

Continue reading Thank-you Cards (“making of” and delivery evidence) / Kekkon-shiki

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

Invitations arrived, vol. 2 / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

JH in Vancouver

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.   

PM in Winnipeg also received books from our pal Grant Lawrence on the same day

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. 

Lovely Crystal in Singapore

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. 

Continue reading Invitations arrived, vol. 2 / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 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

Giftbag Round-up / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

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.

Farm Plan for Party / Dave + Ryoko 4-21 Kekkon-shiki

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.