祖母80歳の誕生日会

祖母が80歳を迎えるということで、日曜日の昼間から居酒屋「北海道」(祖母の出身が北海道ということと、昼間から飲めて喫煙できるという理由でここに決めたらしい。)に親戚一同が集まった。

祖母には、昨年のハワイの結婚式直前にマイクと一緒に挨拶に行っているので、約半年振りの再会であったが、他の親戚はそれこそ20年以上ぶりの従妹もいたり、初対面の人もいた。

カミングアウトする前は、そういう家族行事を極力避けていたので、こういったイベントに、それもマイクと参加している事が未だに信じられない。

祖母へのカミングアウトは、母がしてくれた。当初、自分抜きの親戚会議でハワイの結婚式に行くメンバーを決めていた時、祖母には本当のことは言わないでおこうという結論になっていた。

しかし、突如母から、「おばあちゃんに、本当のこと伝えたよ」と言われたときは、びっくりしたし、真剣にショック死していないかを心配した。

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母曰く、祖母なりにショックを受け、2,3日はあまり眠れなかったという。ただ、昨年マイクを直接紹介し、顔を見たときに安心したらしい。どうやら、同性ということよりも、アメリカ人という部分で、色んな想像(具体的には、スキンヘッドでタトゥーだらけのマッチョとか)をして心配してしまったらしい。。。

ということで、親戚が16人も集まって、居酒屋「北海道」での誕生日会はスタートした。

乾杯前のビールが届くまでに、叔父さんに無茶振りで事項紹介をさせられるマイク。↓

少し可哀そうにも思えたが、自分もクリスマスの時に一緒にアイダホ(マイクの実家)に帰省した時は、同じような思いもしたので、これはリベンジということで頑張ってもらおう。

80歳ということで、次々とプレゼントのラッシュ。自分たちも、結婚祝いにとプレゼント頂きました。(全てローズの入浴剤。ゲイのイメージ??なのかと思ったが、あえて触れず。)

親戚は相当の飲んべえなので、その後はひたすら飲み続けて、最後にバースデーケーキとともに大合唱で幕を閉じ、最後に皆で記念撮影。

こんな写真を取れる日がまさか来るとは。。。。。

↑ハワイでのマイクファミリーとの写真と比べると、日本ファミリーの地味さが浮き彫りに。。。

 

 

 

Opus Oneタイム

結婚式のお祝いにと、友人が「Opus One」の2007年ビンテージ、つまり10年物をくれた。Opus Oneと言えばナパバレーの超高級赤ワインブランドで、絶対に自分で購入することはこれまでも、今後も決してない品である。

去年頂いてから、いつ空けようかとタイミングを計っていたが、ついにその日が来た。

翌日に、祖母80歳の誕生日を親戚とお祝いするということで、母が泊りに来ていたので、ディナーに行く前に、一生に一度のOpus Oneタイムを味わうことにしたのだ。

↑これが、もはや神レベルのボトルである。

そして、もちろん飲む前に、試飲ではなく、神の撮影会が始まる。

様々な角度のグラビア撮影を終え、固唾を飲みながら乾杯。

「今の一口1000円」とか、「このグラスで5000円以上するよね」とか、味わう余裕もない。

もはや、家族の一大イベント化した様子は、まさに「おもひでぽろぽろ」のパイナップル初体験のシーンが蘇った。

経験を買うということは、こういう事なんやろうね。このOpus Oneタイムは一生語り継がれるであろう。そんな家族の思い出がまた増えたこと、Opus One、そしてプレゼントしてくれた友人に感謝しつつ。。。

「やっぱり、赤ワインの王様は、赤ワインの王様は。。。。。。。」

 

Top Events of 2017

With 2017 drawing to a close, I thought it useful to look back and decide what made this year special. Therefore, in reverse order:

10. Going to see a Juju concert in Yokohama

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In July, I decided to surprise Soji with tickets to a Juju concert. We had been to a concert of hers before, and I remember how much he had enjoyed it. This time around, I also really enjoyed it and ended up walking away with a CD. If you must know, my favorite song that night was 「駅」.

 

9. Snowshoeing and whisky tasting

dsc_0118.jpgAt the start of January, Soji and I went on a snowshoeing trip with our friends Emma and Mai. Unfortunately, our dog Sashimi decided she didn’t want to be in the snow for more than five minutes, and so our actual snowshoeing time was rather short. The hotpot and dinner that night though were lots of fun, and on our way back from Nagano we stopped at the Hakushu whisky distillery for a tour. Though serving as the designated driver prevented me from sampling anything there, the bottles that I brought back with me ignited a newfound love of the drink.

8. Skiing at Manza Onsen

DSC_0181.jpgSince I have started living in Japan, all of my winter trips to the mountains have been for snowboarding. And without fail, nearly all of them resulted in me hurting myself in one way or another. This year I decided to try skiing, and surprisingly, escaped injury free. Whether or not I become proficient in future years is open to debate, but at least I know that I can enjoy one winter sport injury free.

7. Redesigning our garden

DSC_0743.jpgOur garden was in a sad state. Ever since we moved in, we had talked about wanting to do something. Our own efforts resulted in a mishmash of colors and styles. Last year, walking around the neighborhood, I discovered the shop of an amazing landscape designer. In June, we  decided to give him free reign to do as he liked, and we were very impressed with the results. Now the challenge is to maintain it…

6. Traveling to Kyoto

DSC_0382.jpgDuring the Golden Week holiday we traveled down to Kyoto to see Soji’s mom. This year, friends Meme-chan and Lily-chan joined us and we rocked the town in vintage kimono. On the last night, we also had dinner at one of our favorite Kyoto restaurants, Nanzen Giro-Giro—a good choice, since we decided to host our family rehearsal dinner at their Honolulu shop.

5. Getting to know Soji’s family more

DSC_1254.jpgThis was a big year for getting to know Soji’s family. In January we had a dinner with Soji’s brother, wife, and niece. We met them again in June, and in July I could finally meet Soji’s grandmother. The meeting went off flawlessly, especially once she saw that I wasn’t some hulking, tattooed marine from the base. At our wedding, I could meet his aunts and uncle, who quickly became the life of the party and contributed greatly to a successful rehearsal dinner. I have to say that being accepted by his family this year has been one of the joys of my life, something that I continually tell myself.

4. Having a book published

TextbookWhile I have been doing proofreading and ghostwriting for some time, I was thrilled when my friend and coworker Yosuke asked me to help write a textbook.  The book was published in September,  and I just learned that it will soon be translated into Chinese. Since I’m still doing promotion for the book, if the mood strikes you, feel free to order it on Amazon.

 

3. Traveling to Thailand

DSCF2104Instead of a present, Soji and I decided to go to Thailand for my birthday this year. We took six days in early November and traveled to Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, everyone asked us if we were in town for the festival. We hadn’t heard of any festival, but upon further inquiry, learned that we had arrived just in time for the world famous sky lantern festival. During this festival, people launch candle-powered hot air balloons into the sky. It was an absolutely magical moment. Plus, I also got to ride on an elephant.

2. Shonan Wedding Party

Shonan WeddingI debated whether to put this as number one. Though this was the reception to our Hawaii wedding, it was pure magic. The weather was perfect, everyone was in the best of spirits, and Soji and I were relaxed and less tense than in Hawaii. Our wedding planner pulled off a perfect white party and beach reception, and we were thrilled with the outcome.

1. Hawaii Wedding

Hawaii WeddingPrivate beach wedding in Hawaii, under a clear blue sky.  All our friends and family there to congratulate us.  Live hula dancers and ukulele players. Fresh organic food and a whole roast pig. What better way to celebrate our first 10 years and to reconfirm that we want to spend a lifetime together? It was a magical moment and more than one could possibly ask for.

 


To all those who made this year possible, THANK YOU. I look forward spending more time with you and to all that 2018 has to offer.