Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunday - Nikko, again!

Wow, two trips to Nikko in two weeks... I'm quite lucky to be so close to such a fantastic place.

Sunday morning, we got up and made our way to Imaichi where I met with Yoshiko's parents yet again. This was only my second time meeting her father, and the third time meeting her mother, and we ended up spending a good chunk of the day together. First was some tea and snacks at their home, then we went off to a nice restaurant where Yoshiko worked for a bit and we enjoyed some great food. Due to our "connection" we all got a free dessert out of the deal... woohoo!

After lunch, we headed out into the area around Nikko, where Yoshiko's mother is from. Our first stop was a waterfall called Urami no taki. Ura means "behind" and you used to be able to walk up the cliff and behind the falls. Yoshiko's mother would come here often as a child to play in the pools of crystal clear water at the base of the falls. This area is really lovely, at any time of year. The water has the quality of spring water and the dense forest is lush and green. On the way out to the falls, we encountered this little statue on the trail.

Here we are in front of the falls... that there white shirt certainly throws off the whiteness don't it?

And here is my soon to be Japanese family!

I really like this picture I got of these moss-covered stumps near the falls.

On the way out, we made our way down to the river, took off our shoes, hiked up our pants and played around in the clear water. It was pretty cold, but rather refreshing after the hike up to the falls. The next stop was Jakko no taki, another set of waterfalls. This is the gate leading the way to the falls and a little shrine nestled at the top of the hill.

Here are the falls, rising about 50 meters up, with 7 distinct steps down. These guys were at the end of a narrow mountain road, and down a tiny foot path perched on the side of the hill leading into the river... not for the faint of heart. I really need to keep an eye on the ISO now that I'm doing most of these shots in semi-manual fashion... lots of my pictures have been turning out grainy... thankfully I make up for it in sheer volume!

Upon returning to my soon-to-be in-laws' home, I took a couple of nice shots of some pretty flowers in the garden tended mostly by Yoshiko's 80+ year old grandmother. She was fiddling around in the garden when we arrived, but Yoshiko and I decided against a surprise introduction to the gaikokujin joining the family...

After all that walking, we headed back indoors to enjoy some watermelon and some more tea. The discussion inevitably turned to our wedding, which is now a mere 2 months and a bit away. After a rather long discussion, with negotiations going back and forth and occasionally translated to me, we figured everything out and made the reservations. All ready for October the 14th! Woohoo! As we were leaving, Yoshiko's father asked if I liked Umeshu, which I admitted I had never heard of. He gave us a bottle of a home made batch they made 7 years ago and it is tasty! Essentially, they just stick some plums into a jar, pour in some shochu and sugar and let it sit for 3 months. It is then best served a year later. We had a couple of glasses last night and it's quite nice. Sweet and sour and with just a little kick...

So that was Sunday, on to Monday!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow that camera takes very good video, and I agree the mossy photo is nice.

You wrote "After a rather long discussion, with negotiations going back and forth and occasionally translated to me, we figured everything out and made the reservations. All ready for October the 14th! Woohoo!"

I suggest you take a more active role in the conversation even if this means things are slower and it forces your finacee to translate more for you. You need to know what they are talking about, and not just in this situation but in any situation your fiancee should be ready to explain things to you. Yes it is asking a lot of her but it is necessary. Sorry if you are already doing this.

Also you are going to city hall and having a meal that day or the next? You are excited, and rightfully so about the occasion, however Im going to tell you something about the city hall wedding in case you dont already know. It is very anti climatic. You get the forms before hand and fill them out, plus the necessary documents from the embassy, and here is where the wedding part comes in. You take all the completed documents back to city hall and hand them over, AND THATS IT. The clerk may not even say conratulations, and theres no justice of the peace, vows, or anything that one may expect from a civil ceremony in Canada. Depending on the city hall you may not even get a marriage certificate to walk out of there with, so if you want one you have to ask.

I just want to warn you as I did the same thing except I was so busy that I forgot to ask about what happens at the city hall and didnt find out until I got there. We handed the forms over, I was surprised and said what is that it? It was. If that is good enough for you both then thats fine but remember this may all be very confusing to your family & friends who may not know when to celebrate, now or in Canada, so you may want to down play the legal marriage.

Also Im guessing you are getting married in October in order to start the immigration proceedure for your finacee into Canada? From reading your blog htough it seems as though your fiancee has not been to Canada. Has she ever been there, or lived overseas before? If so excellent that will make things much easier. If not things can be much more difficult and she should at least go there once before marriage.

I dont mean to say I know it all, its just I am maried to a Japanese and wanted to pass on a couple of things to keep in mind, or keep you from thinking why didnt someone tell me that. Also absorbe as much of Japanee culture as you can from now until you leave. Reading, writing, speaking, watching tv, movies, radio, and food. Do as much of these things, and learn about these things as much as you can because the more you know about Japan the more you will know about your fiancee Find out what stories, songs, and such everyone your fiancees age learned as a child. Summer is the time for ghost stories so learn the famous ones for example Oiwa san Go over to her parents house and look at all the family photos of your fianceee growing up as you will not be able to do that once in Canada. Visit her old schools and university if possible, and so on. If you have already done all of these things A++ and a gold star. If you havent leave no stone unturned in learning everything about Japan before you go.

2:35 AM  

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