Monday, November 15, 2004

Learning A New Culture

I looked forward to seeing a bit more of the city and learning more about the culture of Japan.  My other boss, Danny Nakajima, had bought me Japanese language books and helped me study a bit in order to prepare for my arrival in Japan.  I really appreciated what he did, and he was to be a good friend over the coming years.

When Tom's mother found out that he was to marry a foreigner her reaction was very stoic, she proceeded to search for, find and buy a western style house that would be suitable for her son and myself.  Coming from a country where newlyweds start off on their own - building as they go, I found it strange to have everything handed to us on a golden plate.  It was then that I learned that his Mother had done very well with investments, land opportunities, stock, bonds  and such.

Our wedding was to take place on April 24th in Tokyo, we needed to find a church and reception hall.  My Mother, Father and two sisters were going to fly in the week before the wedding and I was so excited.  I already had my gown, my steamer trunk had arrived safely - with all my little bits and pieces of home tucked inside it. I asked  for my sister Charlene to be my maid of honor and  my little Barbie to be a jr. bridesmaid.  Thinking back now, everything was a blur on the wedding day.  If I didn't have the pictures that I do I would swear it didn't happen.

I remember being in a room in the back of the church waiting for the ceremony processional..and my headpiece slipping...I think I pulled it off in frustration - I have a picture of the minister's wife helping put me back together again.....boy! Talk about feeling like humpty-dumpty.  My dad walked me down the aisle, the ceremony went fine and the reception was to follow at one of the western hotels there.  We had rooms booked at the Hotel New Otani...which had beautiful room and gardens.

We met the next morning with my folks in the hotel's gardens and posed for pictures.  I recently looked at these pictures, I am always amazed at the moments captured in time and the emotions that they evoke.  There is one of Tom lifting me up and pretending to throw me into the pond...of course he didn't - but it makes a good action picure.  My parents and sisters were to leave that afternoon, they were to fly to Greece and visit relatives for several days on their trip back home.  I was beginning to worry about little Barbara because she wasn't eating hardly anything....she was finicky to begin with and the cuisine was not agreeing with her.  It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to my family, I had no idea when I would see them again.....I was afraid that homesickness was going to set in.

Tom had managed to get two weeks vacation for a honeymoon and we decided to travel to Kyoto and beyond.   Okura owned a inn right below Mt. Fuji so we were also going there.  We traveled in his little faithful Volkswagon and until that trip I had not realized how mountainous Japan was.  I also discovered that I did not like tremendous heights...and I swear everyplace we visited was at the top of some damn mountain!  You must understand that, at that time, the roads were like winding trails up the sides of these mountains with no guide posts, wide enough for one car going one way....we had a bus come right at us from around a this day I still feel that we escaped a narrow death.

We stayed at one inn that was really beautiful, in the morning you could see Mt. Fuji in the distance with the mist rising and the sun glistening through the clouds shinning on it.  Tom wanted to get a professional massage, which was available, I decided to join him also. Little did I know.  I was used to a gentle, swedish type message....well, this middle aged gentlemen knocked on the shoji screen and entered....he was blind, it seems that years ago...some children were purposely blinded to be able to perform the art of massage more expertly.  Tom had had this type of massage many times before and actually loved it.  I, on the other hand, thought I was going to die!  I felt that every muscle in my body had been totally shredded.  I actually made the man stop because of the pain....but it took me a couple of weeks to work the kinks out of my body.  Believe me, I never asked for a "professional" massage in Japan ever again.

Thankfully it was towards the end of our honeymoon so our plans were not totally ruined.  We were looking forward to our new life together as man and wife.


demandnlilchit said...

I was sooo happy to see this alert!!!!! I so love your "love story!"

kimbellina1957 said...


magogos said...

I love your story-such an interesting wedding, what culture shock and excitement. Thank you, Margo

judypearllove said...

I had a girlfried who moved to Japan with her husband who was also Japanese. They lived there for a couple of years. Her kids loved it there but she didn't know anything about the culture or how to speak the language. She didnn't adapt well at all. She was very tall like 6ft with long black hair. She said everyone stared at her alot. She came back to the states and now living in heaven but her son married a japanese girl and is now living there very happyly with his family. I hope you also have a great experience in all that you do there. Judy Pearl

deabvt said...

A Beautiful Tale...Thanks,