Tuesday, October 30, 2007

East Weds West

My Sweet's family is not one that follows tradition. If it were, I am sure he would have ended up marrying some nice Japanese girl-next-door. His sister's wedding was an interesting combination of East meets West. She did not wear a wedding kimono, but did change dresses half way through (it is usual for the bride to wear a kimono and then change into two different Western dresses during the reception) giving her uncle the honor of escorting her to the changing room.

We started in a room with just family, bride's on the right side and groom's on the left with everyone in a particular seating order. Then each member is formally introduced individually by the father. There was lots of bowing and nary a smile cracked by anyone. Then we file into the hotel chapel which included an American pastor (My Sweet's family is not Christian) who spoke in Japanese for everything except praying. Then he shifted from a gentle "We are gathered here today..." to a deep booming "Our Heavenly Father who granteth all..." Ok, I can understand that the booming voice is part of the show (though I do not think my giggles helped), but why in English? It was not like they were in any way long or extemporanious! Oh well, I did not get a chance to ask him because he has 4 other ceremonies to preside over. But we ended the service with "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", which I found out later was a well known hymn in Japan. This song has always struck me as a bit somber for a wedding - forfeited joys and needles pains bared and all. I just pray that people who sang it will at sometime contemplate the words.

The reception had a fabulous six course meal, and my sister-in-law read the "Letter to the Parents" thanking her parents for many things that My Sweet was unable to translate. When she spoke about their late father and the regrets she had, she totally lost it. Then the bride and groom walked around the room with all parents, and the groom welcomed the bride's family as part of his family.

Of course there was the cutting of the wedding cake. But my sister-in-law did something special. After that was done, they brought out another cake for My Sweet and I to cut. You see, we never did anything official in Japan for our wedding, and because of different issues, none of his family was able to attend our wedding in America. I was totally choked up by her planning to include us on her special day. Waterproof mascara my Aunt Fanny!

One last thing - all the women in the bridal party got their hair and makeup done by the pros. Here is a telling difference between uber-polite Japan and America. When I sat down in the chair, the gal working on me said, "I like the color of your hair." Now four days earlier when I got my hair cut at home, my hairdresser watched me come in and sighed, "You colored your own hair again. You're not going to Japan like that, are you?" Here in Japan I had at one point 5 people working on me! In the end I looked like a dolled up Barbara Jean Heart from the TV show Reba. It was fun for a party. But I did notice one thing. The more makeup they applied to me, the older I looked. This is great when you are 16 and want to look like you are in your 20's. But really, when you're 40 and people tell you that you look 30, you don't want to look 45. By the way, thanks for the great genes Mom. The more make up you wear, the more people assume you have something to cover up. In the end I looked like a gal ready for a good time. Which I was!

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Land of The Rising Sun

Well, My Sweet and I have come to Japan for my sister-in-law's wedding. I have just a few comments about the incredibly long plane ride over here. First of all the baby did not make me throw up, but I think this speaks more to the quality of the airline food than to anything else. Secondly it was pleasing to see airline attendants of all shapes, sizes, ages, and masculinities. Thirdly, I must be getting hormonal. I gave a deep "Oh my" as I watched the bitter sweet love story Away From Her where two people make the most selfless sacrifices for the person they love. But man I really lost it in the next movie a few hours later. When everyone finally saw that Steve Carell (sniff, sniff) was right about the coming flood and that they needed to get their bleeping behinds on the ark before they were swept away, I cried a river!

Here are a few things I was thinking as we traveled through Tokyo from the airport to Super Swank hotel where the wedding weekend was going on. First of all I knew I was in Japan when I saw a grown woman with her green Snoopie embossed Sampsonite. Also at the airport there were hoards of begloved taxi drivers in suits and standing patiently inside the terminal (no one descending upon the new arrivals, nor are they jockeying to cut in front of someone else. Also, drivers multi task here just as dangerously as we do at home - for example there was the businessman I saw texting, drinking something from Starbucks and driving in the rain. And I do not know if this intentional or not, but just outside the airport is the First Wood Hotel, followed by the Rainbow Hotel, and finally was a very purple and pink hotel or apartment building.

One last first impression. If you watched the movie Lost in Translation, you know Japanese LOVE to have Western stars hawk their goods. Today I saw though guy Tommy Lee Jones on a billboard for a coffee company. The name Boss Coffee works for me, but the fact that it is a Rainbow Blend does not do for Mr. This-is-my-happy-face.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Stein Way

My Dear Sweet Mother forwarded this email to me, and it made me go "Humm", and maybe it will you, too. Much of it was written by Mr. Stein, and some was written by someone else (thanks doodah!). It does make me go Humm.
If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly.
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are:Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something lik e this Happen?" (regarding Katrina)
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government
and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?" (She said the same thing when interviewed after 9-11)

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide).
We said an expert should know what he's talking about.
And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their
classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe,
or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards. honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!