October 30 2000

Date: Monday, October 30, 2000

Subject: The Wedding Dancer

The firemen were drunk. I knew this because the one of them had climbed on the lazy susan that was on their table and he was spinning around on it. He had taken off his dress shirt, his tie was around his head, he had a large afro wig on, and his feet were bare (if you are going to stand on the tables’ lazy susan, make damned sure you take off your shoes). He was armed with a toy rocket launcher, that when pressed into service, shot streams all over the place. Once the groom and the bride had suffered through the tables drunken chant/clap routine, he triggered the rocket launcher, and Kina Sensei and her husband were covered in confetti and streamers. I wasn’t too worried about some of them catching on fire, as there plenty of firemen there.

I was at the wedding of my favorite (Japanese) English teacher, sitting amidst the other teachers from my school. I felt out of place, no, it wasn’t the expensive watch I was wearing, nor was it the suit (!) or the pressed purple shirt, topped off with the kickin’ hula tie (worn at the behest of the bride; thanks once again, momma bear and hamma dog!), rather it was the fact that I HAD TO BEHAVE! Argh!

For some reason, I thought someone was going to stand up in the middle of the whole thing and challenge the groom to a fight to see who the winner would be, but nope.

So far, the strangest difference between a Hawaiian wedding and Okinawan style, was that my seat was indicated on the little card that I got with the invitation some weeks back. Of course, it was a kanji character. Not like I can read that. Good thing I had the card with me. I actually felt like a dumbass, telling my name to the young girl (over and over), as if expecting her to lead me to my table. Finally, she pantomimed a card, and I figured it out.

Probably about 300 plus people there. Since I was/ am a “teacher”, I wasn’t sitting in the back with all the friends. The old people were up front (family and bosses), the young people (friends and co workers) way in the back. Kinda sucked, as Kina Sensei has some pretty cute friends (sorry, there were no bridesmaids to hit on, good try thou S).

The biggest difference between Hawaiian weddings and Okinawa weddings (can’t compare Mainland US weddings, sorry, never been to one) was the entertainment. On the opposite end from the head table, on the stage, was entertainment. Most of it was done by the friends and family of the bride and groom. Some of it was pretty funny, some of it was pretty bad. Most of it was funny. The women at my school rang bells. Now, they were good, but…just didn’t fit into the whole theme of the evening. The brides friends wore these color xerox masks of the couple and it was vaguely unsettling, to say the least, to watch them dance around. There was a trio of women doing some traditional Okinawa dance that looked suspiciously like karate, complete with weapons. That was good. I was kind of hoping that the firemen would jump up on stage and get beaten by the large member of the trio.

The setting was fantastic! I’ve since been told that it’s the most expensive hotel in Okinawa. What little I saw, I believe it. The food was French (I was initially very happy to see words made up of Roman letters on the menu, till I saw that it was in French! Probably the only other language that I suck at as much as Japanese). I’ve also been told that “French” food is a sign of serious $$. Kina Sensei was also dripping in ice. I can’t tell the difference between cubic zirconium and real diamonds, but what ever it was, she had a hell of a lot of them on.

One of the other differences was that both the bridge and groom got up in the middle and changed clothes. They went from wedding clothes to extremely formal evening clothes.

The firemen did their skit at the end. By this time, they were well and truly messed up. When they came out for their skit, I can see why they needed to drink so much. They wore Speedo (banana hammocks) for the whole thing. It was really funny, as they went thru a various life in the day, rescuing people from the ocean and burning buildings and killing sea monsters. Far too much male nudity. I actually contemplated running up on stage and acting like a moron (Chris=nekkid man), as they had been doing the whole evening, but wouldn’t look good (well it would but it wouldn’t, if you get my drift). I have to admit, the firemen drunk as they may have been, could tie a rappelling harness faster then anyone I’ve ever seen do it, way faster then my ROTC days (that’s going to pertain to like, oh, four of you, Vince, Keoni, Jason, Damage, and Taro, okay, five)

I did get up and dance Asa (traditional Okinawa dance) when it was Asa time. See the haole boy, shaking his boot-tay. Expect I’ll hear about that tomorrow.

It ended, three hours after it started. Walked out, and there was a reception line, where I got to shake everyone’s hands and smile and practice my English, as both sets of parents spoke English, as well as the groom, and oh yeah, Kina Sensei speaks English as well.

I grabbed my goody bag (two handblown Okinawa glasses) then prepared to exit. Nope, wasn’t going to happen. Got waylaid by one of the other teachers talking with this kimono clad cutie (try saying that fast!). So we talked, well, sort of. Her English wasn’t too good, but still. A smile goes a long way. Turns out, no only is she the grooms sister (hence the kimono) but she’s my bosses’ (at the office mind you) favorite student! She’s actually met me at the office some weeks/months back when she came up to talk with my boss and have lunch. Yikes. Stinking small island. Sure as heck didn’t place her face and felt like a moron (twice in one evening, a new low record since I’ve been in Okinawa).

Anyway, it felt seriously like a set up. I’ll have to ask Kina Sensei when she gets back from her “holiday”. Not a honeymoon, as they aren’t going anywhere. Oh, which means I get to teach her classes tomorrow. Crap. Unruly punk kids, good thing I’m taking a sword and a hammer. Go Halloween!

That’s only Sunday. Saturday was also amusing! It involved bowling, BBQ, beer, and running (I mean that in an active way) around castle ruins late in the night. Please stay posted this week. We’ll also discuss the lack of running water in my apartment for the entire week (at minimum) and other plumbing issues.

To close, as the happy couple left the ballroom, the music switched to an Enigma song, “End of the Innocence”, I think…..

I have to go the bathroom, which means I get to go next store and let myself in. Strange.

Chris

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