David Chart's Japan Diary

August 1st 2006

Japan's weather has continued to be strange. The rainy season is just finishing now, a couple of weeks (at least) late, and the weather is still pleasant, and not at all like a normal summer. Not that I'm complaining; the last couple of days have been very nice, so I intend to enjoy it while it lasts. Fortunately, the serious flooding in western Japan seems to be over now, but it will take a long time for people to recover; whole houses were literally washed away. (When I say "literally", I actually mean "literally": the whole house detached from its foundations by the force of water and carried away downstream.) It was, apparently, the worst flooding since records began. I blame global warming.

On a more personal level, work is going well. I finished two projects, including the one with the looming deadline, and I've also got some other things moving along. I've also been paid for looking after Ars Magica, and two new books for the line have just come out -- my copies arrived yesterday. (The Mysteries Revised Edition, and Realms of Power: the Infernal) These are books I just edited; I didn't write much, if any of the contents (maybe a sentence here and there), but it is still nice to see them in print. I've also recruited another student, I think, and she's having her first lesson tomorrow. We shall see how that goes.

Just about everything else we've done has been wedding related, which is unsurprising. The Sunday before last, we had another planning meeting at Happoen. This time, Yuriko's parents came up from Nagoya to see the place and sit in on the meeting. We went around the garden, which is very nice indeed. I don't think we'd been round the whole of it before, as we always have meetings to go to when we go there. I hope the weather on the day is suitable for strolling around and enjoying it. We then went to look at kimono for the parents, and put in the reservations for Yuriko's parents sets. We needed measurements for my family, so we haven't done that yet. (You don't need many measurements for kimono: height, weight, and shoe size for the special sandals. Kimono are very forgiving of differently-shaped bodies.)

Then we had the actual meeting; three hours again. We checked the envelopes for the invitations, and about a third of the English ones had spelling mistakes. I doubt an English calligrapher would do as well with Japanese... Anyway, those were corrected and we received the corrected envelopes last week. After that, we sorted out the order of events in the reception, decided on the video and studio photographs, and decided most of the details on the snap photos (the ones taken during the events). That still left quite a bit to be decided, so we've had to book another session before the final meeting. I suspect we will also have to book another meeting after the final meeting, but that's OK; there is time in the schedule. According to our wedding coordinator, we aren't being particularly inefficient, so that's good.

This Sunday we largely spent sorting out the invitations. That spilled over into yesterday, but now I have a bag full to take to the post office today. The foreign ones need stamping airmail, but otherwise they are all ready to go. However, we did find time for a little shopping trip. Part of it was to buy some paper that we found we needed for the invitations, but the main event was clothes shopping, for me.

We went to buy me a proper yukata, the simple kimono-like outfit that Japanese people often wear to summer festivals or fireworks displays, particularly things that happen in the evening. Women wear them quite a lot in that context, but it's still a little unusual for men. In particular, although couples in which the woman is in yukata and the man is western-style are common, I don't think I've ever seen a couple the other way around. However, since I am clearly Japanese really, we decided to get one. Yuriko was quite enthusiastic, and assures me that the one we bought really suits me.

We went to Marui in Mizonokuchi, which had quite a wide range of men's yukatas. Yuriko commented that she'd never seen such a wide range, but I have to wonder how hard she's looked in the past. They also had a range of obi (the belts), so we spent some time looking at different obi to match the yukata. Then we had to look at geta (sandals), a handbag (no pockets in yukata, although you can put things in the sleeves), and a fan (a must-have accessory, apparently). I now have a full set of Japanese-style clothing, for casual events. Next thing is to go to somewhere I can wear it. Fortunately, there may be a local opportunity later this week.

That's about it. I have no doubt that work and wedding preparations will continue to dominate this diary until we've actually had the wedding. It's a lot of work getting married; I think moving in together first was a good plan. Well, and, technically, getting married first as well. Keeping the legal messing around and the ceremonial messing around separate has made things a lot easier.