Japanese Weddings, Toilets, and Snake Oil

I deserve an award for that title.

That’s the sign outside the restrooms of a very big department store. I’m not a huge stickler on grammar, but I’m pretty sure something is missing (or extra) here.

And now we transition to something missing from everyone’s bathroom:

Those are the controls for the toilet in most Japanese homes. Just by looking at the picture, I can count 13 buttons.

I once heard a funny anecdote about a foreigner coming out of the bathroom in a fancy Japanese restaurant with his clothes all wet because he hit the wrong button. It’s probably not true (it was told to me by a Hungarian, and you simply can’t trust Hungarians when it comes to personal hygiene. Almost every Hungarian I know takes like 12 showers a day, maybe more), but it made me laugh nonetheless.

And this is where a masterful writer would make a seamless transition into a Japanese Wedding Ceremony. But you’re stuck with me, so while you have toilets in your head, here is a drink they were serving at the wedding:

No, it’s not a basin which looks like a toilet bowl. It’s a teacup filled with hot water and a flower in it (they told me it was fresh 桜 Sakura, but considering this year’s Cherry Blossoming period was pretty fruitless, I have my doubts). It tasted like hot water with a flower in it. So no surprises there. 🙂

Japanese 結婚式 (神道)Weddings less excruciating than Catholic Weddings and put pretty much all of the pressure on the lucky couple. And lots of 写真 will happen.

Notice the traditional dress. The 男 on the left is actually Hungarian (no, not the same one, his showering habits are still unknown, just like I blocked out his face masterfully using Photoshop), but he still looks pretty damn good in the 和服 Japanese traditional garb. No, the giant cone thing on the bride’s head is not made from ice-cream (why are you even asking that?).

The lady in the yellow 着物 on the right is scolding the bride for looking too pretty and enjoying herself too much. Remember the yellow 着物 kimono.

This went on for some time.

With approximately 12 cameras for each pose.

In multiple locations. Notice that lady in the yellow 着物 kimono (again!) adjusting the wedding kimono. This was her main job. Adjusting the dress. For hours.

Okay, that lady in the yellow dress was also in charge of making everyone else at the wedding miserable by sticking to some crazy pre-determined schedule of events that no one wanted to follow. She was also constantly barking commands and generally being annoying (although, after some time, it became part of the fun).

After all the picture taking, we went into a special 神道 Shinto Shrine where no cameras were allowed. (except for the video cameras they have inside to make sure you aren’t using a camera… yup). So, no pictures. I just thought of it now but, they didn’t say anything about not recording the audio. I gotta remember that for next time. You really have to experience the loud, obnoxious noise that is coming from the 尺八 shakuhachi flute (or whatever those things were) to feel the ambience.

After praying to all the Shinto gods for blessings and stuff (during which they make you drink 酒 sake, really!). Everyone retires into a large dining room where you’re force fed about seventeen-thousand dishes of multiple bright colors and amazingly interesting tastes. They also began serving beer. Because of this, I forgot to take pictures, so instead, I’ll show you a picture of a $100 mango and we’ll call it even.

That’s right. 1万円。Or ¥10,000 depending on your keyboard. I know what you’re thinking… ‘Who in their right mind would pay that much money for ONE mango?’ Probably someone that loves mango. Perhaps it’s a super luxurious mango with flavors beyond the palate of someone as simple as me.

Or perhaps, it’s the same people who buy this stuff:

If you thought your country was full of unbelievable products which cure everything from headaches to weight loss with outrageous claims coming from magical pieces of plastic, you’re not alone. Japan is crazy with the stuff. The lovely example above includes the famous Cell Roller. Which magically burns fat away my rubbing a piece of plastic on whatever part of the body you want it to lose fat from. It does so by breaking down cells and blah blah blah other psuedo-scientific terms which amount to you spending money on it.

Strangely enough, after reading the instructions, I knew the thing must actually work! The instructions require you to move the thing back and forth for 15 minutes up to however many hours you want (indeed, they encourage it). If you’re moving your arm around that much, especially with the bigger models, you’re simply exercising. Ta-da!

And with that. I leave you with this to think about:

That is one special tree. (sign says 大田区保護□ … if anyone knows the last 漢字 let me know) 🙂