Several months ago, a friend asked me to take pictures of her wedding here in Japan. This was remarkable for several reasons (not the least of which are my piss-poor photography skills):
- The wedding was a traditional shinto ceremony
- No one in the wedding was of Japanese heritage or nationality
- No one in the wedding spoke Japanese
- The groom had to recite a very old, very traditional reading in Japanese (see above point)
True to EPB form, we arrived just in the nick of time, so I didn't have much chance to take pictures of the setting. Also, the lighting was super funny - a combination of natural light, fluorescent, and light filtering though the walls - and that combined with my superawesomeamzing photag skilz (see above) lead to some shoddy pictures.
Nevertheless, I thought I'd share them for this weeks Show Me Japan, as hosted by Budget Trouble. You are welcome.
Although I did not understand much of what happened during the wedding ritual itself, the feeling and tone was really beautiful: reverent, quiet, reflective, zen, if you will. Only having experience with Western and Chinese weddings, I found the silence and the sedate pace of the proceedings remarkable. And beautiful.
The wedding took place inside a beautiful Shinto Shrine; a little gem nestled in the heart of an industrial part of the city, near the port. It was officiated by a priest who was assisted by two girls.
we arrived, there was a set of benches prepared for the guests to sit prepared with a beautiful sake cup and a wooden tray. The couple sat in font of the alter, with the priest off to the side. There was much standing, sitting, and occasional kneeling.
The priest recited blessings, and used what looked like a gigantic feather duster to purify the couple (I presume). After, his assistants served sake.
Both the bride and groom dressed in traditional costumes, which are simply wonderful. Much more beautiful and joyous than Western white. But the hair. I tell you! I did not realize, but to get the kind of height and volume required, you have to stuff the hair with something that looks like black cotton batting.
After, we all drank champagne and celebrated. And then I went home, had a piece of cheese, and spent the whole night barfing. True story.
Now, for some pictures of Japan that are actually good, check out Budget Trouble's great photo meme.