Monday, August 30, 2004

A Wedding Party

Apart from a long night out at the bars with the usual crew on Friday, this past weekend was pretty quiet. The main event for me was the wedding party of my ultimate team's captain of some five years. Actually it was the "second party," the first having been a more formal affair restricted to family members.

About forty current and former members gathered at a slightly fancy bar near Ichigaya station on Sunday evening. The entry fee was Y8000 (US$80) which seemed a bit stiff to me, but is apparently a bit cheap by Japanese standards. Most men were dressed in suits and ties, the ladies in long dresses. Inside we had an all-you-can-eat/drink buffet. Unlike most crowds I've been to all-you-can-drink places with, my team doesn't drink much, so it seems individual orders would've been fine. We had arranged for team logo-branded frisbees as a gift for the captain- the first made for our team. We all signed one. Others were available for Y2000 (US$20) each to whomever wanted one.

The couple came in, Masao (the groom & our captain) dressed in a gray suit of a stylish cut, Harue (the bride) in a fancy white dress. We greeted them with little hand held "crackers" that launched confetti over them, then settled down to watch a digital "slideshow" of the lives of the couple. After dinner we had a round of bingo which seemed like a good mixer. Pretty much everyone there knew each other from the team already though. Strangely there didn't seem to be any friends of the bride's there. Everyone received a blank bingo card and was expected to go around and get other people to sign their name in one square. Then we all put our names in a box and played bingo with our randomly constructed card. The first prize was a trip for two to Tokyo Disneyland. Perhaps that's part of why the entry fee was so high.

We were also treated to a rendition of a current pop song on acoustic guitar by one fellow, while four others in wigs and silly glasses danced what I guessed must be the designated dance for that song. I can't find a good link describing Japanese pop song dances, but suffice it to say that every popular song has a requisite dance that everyone is supposed to do along with it. I have no idea where the sequence of moves first comes from. MTV perhaps?

The party was quite merry. It felt almost like a school reunion. There were some teammates there I hadn't seen in half a year or so. After 9pm or so we had been at the bar for three hours and our time was apparently up. We retired to an izakaya literally across the street. There most of our party continued on with the third party, albeit without the wedding couple. We drank and nibbled there until the last train was drawing near, then I went home. Apparently some people went on to a fourth party with karaoke until the first train. Say what you will about Japan, but the folks know how to party here! :)

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