Wednesday was Kazuya and Marie's wedding reception and it was as big as it was billed. Here is Marie's mother making the bouquet:
And some of the kitchen help:
For some reason I didn't get a photo of the food but it was insane! There was so much food that we could have fed twice as many and still had plenty left over -- but that is how weddings usually are! Here I am putting the finishing touches on the wedding cake:
It actually turned out pretty good. I used 3 1/2 cake mixes (thanks to Laura for bringing them) and I was impressed that it tasted good too! Kazuya was so excited that it was an American cake with American frosting!
Here are the Rasmussens and Kazuya (and me) with "Stanley."
I have not really heard of "Stanley" before but apparently you have "Stanley" who goes with you wherever you go and to the important occasions in your life. I guess I should find more out about this tradition but quite a few people seem to know about it more than I do.
There was a dinner, program and cutting of the cake:
All in all, a success and the Japanese are ridiculous photo people so there were tons of photo opps for all!
So later in the week we decided to go back to Chuzonji because we figured the sakura (cherry blossoms) would be out. Right . . . and Wrong. The cherry blossoms were out, but there were no cherry trees at Chuzonji where we had seen such spectacular fall foliage. This is the washing area before you enter the temple where you can wash your hands (and your mouth!):
And a look into the temple (shrine):
Just across the street from Chusonji we found some sakura trees in bloom:
But we found out not to worry about not seeing much in the way of cherry blossoms. On Saturday we went with the branch to a park for a barbeque and wow! the sakura were everywhere:
And are some of us at our barbeque picnic:
I don't think the Japanese believe in tables or chairs; they just spread something on the ground and mostly just stand and eat. There was a cement fire pit though. We began by cooking hamburgers. They were SMALL patties on English muffins. Then they grilled some pork strips. Then they made some soba on the same grill:
This must be standard fare because we have seen it before. Done, it looks like this (yummy!):
I took some shishkabobs:
When the Japanese say "Barbeque" it translates into "MEAT"! So there was more skewers of chicken (yaki niku), more pork, steak, and then hot dogs! And all of this for not that many people. Yes, we ate until we could not possibly eat more. One couple brought some marshmallows for roasting (some had never had those before) and I brought seven layer dip, salsa and tortilla chips from Costco.
I wondered how everyone would like seven layer dip (no sour cream here so I used plain yogurt). They LOVED it! They actually hadn't eaten much in the way of tortillas either but they ate almost all of it even with the salsa. And I even had guacamole in it. I found a guacamole dip mix on sale once at the local liquor/international store. They do love avocados so I wasn't surprised at their love of guacamole.
In our travels we saw this sign for a hair salon. I thought it was a little over dramatic:
And Souta (age five) was practicing using chopsticks at the picnic. He was picking up little candies and putting them back into their container. He was amazing!:
At our single adult family home evening tonight, Kaoru (who is a little mentally challenged) was proud of himself when he made this agenda for our meeting:
I originally made macho nachos for district meeting earlier in the week so we had leftovers tonight. I discovered that if you want to get rid of leftovers, give them to the single adult guys--they will take care of them!
Hmmm . . . some things are universal!