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.

ハワイと鎌倉の結婚式について

2017年8月8日に、ハワイオアフ島のノースショアで結婚式を挙げました。当日は、「これぞハワイ!」という素晴らしい天気に恵まれて、この日のために集まってくれた家族や友人に囲まれ、本当に一生に忘れられない一日になりました。

そして2017年9月9日には結婚披露宴として、鎌倉のレストランでパーティ、材木座のビーチで手作りのアーチを作ってもらい人前式を行い、改めてお祝いをして頂きました。

「本人そして出席してくれた仲間にとって一生忘れられない、手作りの結婚式」をテーマに、約一年前から準備を進め、恒例の喧嘩も幾度となく重ね、一時は「結婚式を挙げる事」自体に疑問を持った時期もありました。

全ての式を無事終え、結婚式を考えなくていい平和な日常(まぁ、結婚式以外でも日常には色々非平和な要素はあるが)に戻った今、当日の写真や動画を見返すたびに、心から「やってよかった」と実感しています。

経った3か月前の話ですが、少しづつ過去になっていくことに寂しさを覚えます。いつまでも思い出に浸っている性格ではありませんが、このブログでは、約1年間の結婚までの軌跡を振り返ってみます。

その時の空気感や感じた事を記録に残し、この奇跡の2日間にそっと蓋を置こうと思います。

 

Beginnings

This is a blog about two people, from two very different countries, making a relationship together—building a family together. While the idea for this blog came in the days following our wedding, our relationship didn’t begin there. It began with a hello, on a website called Gaydar, over 10 years ago. I’d like to start with that beginning and go from there.

In September 2007, I had been living in Japan for three years, had been promoted to a manager at a language school in Tokyo, and felt confident in the expat life I was creating—except for relationships. While I had dated several different guys in those three years, none of them lasted more than a few months, and I seemed to be always searching for someone new.

Like pretty much any gay man since the early 2000s, I often turned to the internet. I don’t remember many of the details of my early conversations with Soji, but I do remember that he was the first to initiate contact, that his pictures made him look really cute, and that he seemed to have a good sense of humor. From his profile, I learned how he was newly returned to Japan after several years in Australia. As our messages continued, I decided that he was someone I definitely wanted to meet in person.

After a couple of weeks, Soji and I finally met up in Harajuku for coffee. Both our choices in fashion are a bit questionable now—I was wearing a turquoise blue polo shirt and Soji was wearing second-hand market clothes. That didn’t seem to matter at the time though, and walking around the streets of Harajuku, the topics of conversation seemed to just keep going on. Coffee turned into dinner, and we sat at a Jonathan’s near Shibuya station for hours telling each other our life stories. Eventually though, the time for last train approaching, I said my goodbyes, promised to meet again, and rode back to my suburban apartment.

I was smitten.

HomeMade家族の由来

はじめまして。Sojiです。この度、「HomeMade家族」というブログを始めることにしました。初投稿ということで、まずはブログ名の由来から話したいと思います。

僕は、今年8月8日にハワイにて、付き合って10年となるアメリカ人のパートナーと結婚しました。翌月、9月9日に鎌倉のレストランで披露宴を行い、近くのビーチで手作りアーチの前で、誓いの儀式を再度行いました。ハワイ、そして日本で家族や友人に祝福してもらい、10年の時を経て、やっと「家族」になりました。

そして現在、もうすぐ5歳になる愛犬さし美と一緒に暮らし、二人が描く夢に向かって、この先10年、20年と続く未来に向かって新たなスタートラインに立っています。

これまでと変わらず、この先も自分達が描く「家族」という形を一つ一つ作り上げていきたい。そんな想いを込め、「HomeMade家族」という名前にしました。

このブログでは、2007年からの過去10年間を振り返りながら、これからの僕たちの「HomeMade家族」の今を定期的にご紹介していきたいと思います。