Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sad day

My grandfather died this morning, peacefully with grandma at his side. He was a patriotic man of faith so we believe he's in a better place.

But we still can't help missing him.

Rest in peace,



Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Japanese Wedding

Man we have so many photos. I've got weeks of blog material here. And we haven't even gotten to Tokyo yet.

Anyhoo here are more photos from the wedding. It was a Western affair in a chapel at the St Valetine's Hotel in Sakuto. The chapel sits at the top of the hill, and they ring the chapel bells everytime someone gets married. I imagine that makes the town a bit festive. I can imagine Japanese families, hanging out in their courtyards, tending to their gardens and hearing the bell ring.

That's the cool thing about Japanese homes, outside of the urban areas, nearly every home has a garden, a very well-tended garden. It made me feel like a lazy Westerner. I certainly have the backyard to have my own garden, but can I be bothered to get my hands dirty?

No, it would take away from my knitting. Sigh.

And I know myself well enough that I am incapable of managing a garden. I'm too inconsistant. I'll forget to water the plants or I'll water them too much.

I'd rather cook the food. I'm willing to bet that my husband would be the better gardener.

Anyhoo onto the wedding photos, thank you for your patience on the random gardening rant.

The father and the bride. Sister in law was already tearing up. She looked so happy.

The father gives the bride away then the groom mets the bride and escorts her to the alter.

It was so cute.

They each take a glass of what I think is supposed to be wine. The whole ceremony was in Japanese so I'm unsure exactly what this is supposed to represent.

Here they were reading their vows in unison.

Here they each had a candle, which they used together to light one candle.

Here my brother is signing the vows.

Sister in law signing the vows.

Surprise! I'm in the wedding, I get to sign the vows as a witness. I was very honored.

Here is my "I don't know what I'm doing, I hope this is ok" bow

Then they show everyone that the vows have been signed.

Grandpa read a small speech.

Then the wedding ceremony was finished.

We threw origami cranes at the couple as they came down the aisle.

All the guests lined up outside to await the married couple. They gave us rose petals to toss.

That's my sister in law's mother, sister, and grandfather. The sister was my co-witness. She's very sweet.

The wedded couple appears at the door. To the left is the bell cord, which they rang to announce their wedding.

Those are my sister in law's auntie, uncle and super cute cousins. They can't wait to toss the rose petals.

There's nothing better or more beautiful at a wedding than the tossing of rose petals. It was the favorite part of my wedding too.

They stopped at midway down the stairs and we didn't know why, but then there was a pop!

And some balloons were released into the air.

They really know how to put on a good show! It was a wonderful, heartfelt ceremony and we had a wonderful time.

Next time: The reception. Can you say impromptu karaoke???

Friday, May 18, 2007

Why Yes I Did Go To Japan, I Have The Jet Lag To Show For It.

And all these crazy photos.
We were in Japan for a wedding and we're so thrilled to have a Japanese wing to our family. I can't imagine anyone more welcoming and eager to show us a good time. I can't wait for the in-laws to come to San Francisco and show them around. The visit to Japan to their hometown really cemented us as a family and I hope to see them again soon.

So on to the photos:

So here's me at the Shizutani School.

After visiting the school, we went back to the in-laws for a phenomenal Japanese feast. It was such an honor to get to have such a meal in a Japanese home. It made us feel so welcome!

The house had a tatami mat dining room. A shrine is also kept in the room. There was something like 20 people in there!

Here's a photo of the food, platters like this were up and down the table. I've never seen so much sushi! And the grandma made special rice balls, with beans that are only made for special occasions.

My favorite Japanese tradition is how people pour drinks. You are never supposed to pour your own beverage. You pour other people drinks and then they pour one for you. It's a very social tradition. People come and visit you from the other end of the table to pour you a drink. It is warm and festive.

My sister in law Erina to the right and her mother on the left and sister in the middle. Such a beautiful family!

These are my brothers with Erina's grandparents and great Auntie. So cute!!!

Me with my cousin Sharon, I think you can see the family resemblence!

That's my brother Victor on the right and Sharon's husband Brandon on the left. Victor would like you to know that Brandon smells.

Just in case you forgot we were there for a wedding, and here's a preview of the photos:

Here's our knitting content for the day: I made that lacy shruggy thing from the Lace Style book, with Goddess Carmen, 100% cotton. It was yummy to work with and was perfect for the wedding, though I didn't know that it was preferable to wear conservative black. I understand why. In American culture, you don't wear white to compete with the bride. You don't wear black because it's a bit funeral-y. But in Japan you don't wear color because the bride wears such a colorful kimono that you don't want to compete, not that my dress in any way could compete with such a beautiful kimono, but wearing more sublte tones makes the bride stand out even more. You know, FYI incase you ever attend a Japanese wedding.

more photos to come!


Unemployed? Maybe Not Much Longer.

It's Friday and I'm finally over the jet lag. Jeeeeez. My sleeping pattern has been awful! It's a good thing I'm unemployed or I probably would have gotten fired by whatever employment I had.

Anyhoo there is a possible job on the horizon. I interviewed yesterday and it went well. I have another interview on Monday. It's for a pretty big corporation and I've never worked in corporate so I'm a little worried that the position might be a bit much for me. However, there's the possibility that this could be the perfect full-time position for me. My coworkers would be around my age, it's all stuff that's within my skill set, there's a huge training program to make sure you have all the right information, and it's a corporation that has a really good reputation for taking care of it's employees.

The only down side is that I would have to work longer hours and thus lose lots of time writing my book. But on the other hand I would be making good money working for a good company.

Can you tell that I'm trying to psyche myself up for this?

Everyone I know that I've told about this job opportunity has been confused because I've actually been looking for a part time job so I can write the book.

I like the idea of working part-time, but not so much the idea of not making a lot of money, and smelling like coffee, or breaking my back in retail, or running into people I used to work with and serving them coffee, explaining that no, I'm not a mcjob loser I'm actually spending all my free time writing a book. And then get that doubtful look from them like "good luck weird knitter girl".

Ah pride. Is it really that important?

Now these obnoxious self help maxims keep floating around my head, like we create our own barriers to success or the harder path yields the most opportunities.

There's the distinct possibility that if I take the safe job option with the groovy corporation that I would be repeating the same mistake I've been making for the last 5 years and end up unhappy in the end, again.

However the difference between this time and last is that I actually have a palpable goal that I can achieve. The thing is that I'm afraid to fail. I'm afraid that I'm going to write this book and no one is going to be interested in it and that I'm going to waste all my time. I'm afraid that I'm not ready to write this book. But that's all bullshit, if you pardon my french.

Because if you're a Dune reader like I am you know that fear is the mind killer.

And if you look at my choices just through that lens, the clear choice is to find a part time job and write the book.

Well at least I am presented with 2 good choices. It's a win win really, either I take a good job, or I work on the book. It's nothing life threatening. At least the difference in the past five years is that there really is something I love to do, that I'm naturally good at, that brings me mountains of joy.

speaking of joy: please visit my friend Knitabulous at Pick Up Sticks. She just awarded me a prize for being her 50,000th visitor. I've mentioned her before because she is an AMAZING lace knitter. Seeing as my first attempt at micro lace was an unmitigated distaster (I blame the stitch markers) I am in awe of her work.

Also I want to post more Japan photos so be on the lookout for that.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Et-Jay Ag-Lay

I am awake at 6:56 am.

The only possible reason for this is jet lag. We got home from Japan on Saturday morning. I didn't get to sleep until 5am Sunday morning and slept until 4:30 in the afternoon. It was one of those sleeps where you close your eyes and open them again thinking it's only been 30 minutes, but actually it's been 12 hours. I was back in bed reading by 6:30pm that same night, but I couldn't even handle reading and fell asleep again until 9:30pm. That's 15 hours of sleep. Crikey. Thus I haven't been able to sleep at all for the rest of last night and I'm up at 7am blogging.

Japan was great. There's too much to tell so I'll just say it with photos.

This Australian is very happy to learn that you can drink beer in train stations and that beer is available in vending machines.

Mr G crusing the Osaka streets, little does he know that we're a block away from the love-hotel district...

My first Japanese meal in Japan. It was sashimi on the 27th floor of some swanky department store in Osaka.

Mr. G getting used to our new living arrangements in back country Japan:

Just a sample of some of the yummy food we had in Japan. Most of the restaurants/Japanese people we came across were surprised that we
a) could use chopsticks
b) liked raw fish
We went to a Japanese sushi feast at my brother's in laws house and they had a bunch of fried foods as well as sashimi and nigiri and they were all shocked that we went for the raw fish instead of the fried foods!!!

Here is my sister in law in her kimono. The day before the wedding she had to visit her neighbors to inform them of her impending marriage.

The in-laws took us to see the local sights, including an example of an old house, with these interesting medievel like carved stones:

Ladies and gentlemen, my husband:

.. country road, take me home, country road....

These are photos of the Shizutani Buddhist School up in the hills of Okayama Prefecture... it's a beautiful retreat. It was the site of the first school in Japan meant for the general population and not for the upper class elite.

There were a bunch of school children there for a field trip.

Apparently they thought Mr. G was a rock star:

more photos later...

need to make some coffee.

Oh and be on the lookout, I need to weed out my yarn stash so stay tuned for a destash sale, including some yarns from Rowan, Crystal Palace, Goddess Yarns, and maybe some GGH...