Thursday, April 25, 2024

Life in Tokyo - Two Weddings a Funeral and quite a Concert

Tokyo can throw a lot at you in a very short space of time. But I enjoy it, although it can take a little planning, and sometimes you need to be ready to change those plans at the drop of a hat. The first of two weddings was wonderful and at Meiji Shrine in central Tokyo. Full, beautiful Japanese regalia, bride radiant and husband regal. Dress code was "formal" and so, being English, I was full black tie (which had taken me some time to dig out of the back of the wardrobe) and was completely upstaged by an Italian guy who wore his so well he could have ordered a martini "shaken, not stirred". The Australian guests were in their finest Hawaiian shirts (which still looked great, they were there to celebrate with the couple, which, at the end of the day is all that matters). It was my first time behind the scenes at Meiji Shrine, and, although raining, the sunshine was out as far as I was concerned. What a great day.

The second wedding was just as wonderful but this time I'd been asked to speak. This go around was on the water and again the bride looked absolutely beautiful. The groom is from America and many of his friends had flown in to be there. They were a wonderful gaggle of old friends, some from his youngest days, here to see something so important. When it came to my turn in the speeches, the groom had asked me not to let him know what I would be saying. Which I didn't. But I let the bride know that he was unaware of what was coming. And so I read a poem by John Cooper Clark I'd first heard some forty years ago. And many of the ladies cried. And so did some of the guys. What a wonderful day. I'd asked an international interpreter if it could be translated and she just said "can't be done". So I'm afraid it was only in English; but the sentiment was there. I also turned to an acting coach to help me not become too emotional, so as I read it, in my mind I was reciting Henry V. The Japanese lady, speaking after me, took a moment to compose herself and was also wonderful.

The saddest moment of the last few weeks was our friend's dog passing away at sixteen. Our dog passed away almost two years ago and I still feel it today. Here, there is an option to cremate a pet. A small van will come to your house and your pet is placed inside. The driver will leave for an hour or so and come back with your pets ashes in a small urn and a smaller bracelet so you can be together for special events. My friends held it together though they'd lost their other dog only a few months before, but I really felt for them, we'd known him for more that ten years but it was nothing like the emotion they were going through. Farewell my friend.

But to finish on a brighter note, Queen came to Japan recently. They've loved this country from their early days and were recognized a decade before America picked up on them. Adam Lambert, out front, was not only awesome but extremely deferential to Freddy, standing back and letting the band play when the moments came. My son and I had seen Adam Lambert when he first appeared on American Idol more that a decade ago, and before anyone laughs, unless Smokey Robinson has ever given you a standing ovation, you have some practice to do. And so I sourced two tickets for my son (now mid-twenties) for his birthday so he could go with a friend. I explained, he looked at me and immediately gave me one of the tickets back saying "we're going together". That was a pretty cool moment I really won't forget in my life. And it really was an awesome show.