03 August 2011

Tokyo May 2011 - Part II

Continued from here.

The next day, we woke up at 9+. We were supposed to go to Meiji Shrine at 2+ to attend the Shinto Wedding and thereafter the wedding reception. I decided to head out for some final shopping since we were taking the early flight home the next morning.

So I headed to Loft across the street which opens at 10am, shopped there for an hour before popping to Uniqlo for clothes, and finally Tokyu Food Show for some pastries and also packed lunch. Then rushed back to the hotel, took my lunch and dressed up for the wedding ceremony. Ladies typically wear a black day dress and accessorize with pearls or kimono whereas men in dark suit and white tie. After making ourselves presentable, we took the JR on the Yamanote Line to Harajuku which is the station nearest to Meiji Shrine.

Entrance of the Meiji Shrine. It has been a long time (probably 8 years) since we last visited. After a long walk on gravel and stones into the shrine, we finally reached the hall. Phew! It was tough walking in heels!

The couple were taking photos in the grounds. I must say the photographer and staff took a lot of effort to ensure that each and every photo was perfect, from adjusting the standing and sitting positions, the clothes and all. Truly professional!

After their photo-taking, we were ushered to the waiting room where we met N's relatives and friends. Not sure if it is a custom/tradition, N's father made introductions of everyone present, including us. The couple as well as guests were also given instructions by the staff of the shrine on what to expect and observe during the ceremony later. Soon it was time to enter the shrine, all of us lined up in a procession and walked towards the shrine, just like what we saw when we visited Japan shrines. This time round, we were the ones in the procession :) It felt surreal and also a little funny as we were the ones being filmed/photographed this time.

The ceremony was around 30 mins, done in a very sacred and solemn manner. We wished we knew more of the Japanese language to understand the meaning of the rituals.

After the ceremony, we were ushered back to the waiting room to wait for cabs which would take us to the wedding reception, held at adding: blue restaurant at Omotesando. This is an intimate French kitchen attached to the Blue Note jazz club next door.
Look at the extensive menu planned by the restaurant specially for this wedding reception! The restaurant took a lot of effort to source for the best and freshest ingredients from all over Japan. The Japanese really took pride in whatever they do.

The restaurant was cozy and elegant, with beautifully decorated florals and glasswares. Throughout the reception, the staff were very attentive and topped up our glasses whenever they were half full, and cleared dishes very promptly.

The reception started with R giving a speech in Japanese. The couple was very thoughtful and gave us a translated script in English so that we could understand. Followed by N's father, who also gave a speech in Japanese. Once again, translated script were given to us. Thereafter, the couple proposed a toast to start off the dinner.
First course - Raw Ham taste Blan-Manger prepare in it Cocktail with YUBARI-Melon Paste. This was a sweet beginning to the dinner. I loved the melon paste which was juicy and sweet and paired with the raw ham very well.
Second Course - Baked French Foie Gras and Apricot Terrine, Honey flavour of the Orange. This was the first time I ate baked foie gras, previously was always grilled. It was very rich and creamy but a tad too overwhelming after eating half a piece. Luckily the slight sourness and sweetness of the apricot and honey balanced the taste. I think I still prefer grilled foie gras.
Third course - Freshwater prawn rolled up with Kadaif served with saute of the Spinach, Balsamico and Lemon taste Vinegar sauce. Ohhh, I loved this dish. The Kadaif was very crispy and prawn very juicy and crunchy, excellent paired with the Spinach as well as the sauce.

Fourth course - Pan-fried Red Snapper with Gnocchi a style of Paris and Green Pea, Beaten White Wine sauce. I loved this fish too, the red snapper was very very fresh and tasted so sweet. The sauce was very special and complemented the gnocchi and fish very well.
Fifth course - Grilled Sirloin of the Japanese Beef served with Red Wine sauce, Stuffed Truffle taste small potato and Rape Blossoms. Although we were already very full, we just had to finish this beef! The beef was sooo juicy and tender!
Sixth course - Mango Pudding and Aloe Marinade with Almond Tile. The mango pudding was so light it almost melted in the mouth, paired well with the aloe vera.
Seventh and final course - The Wedding Cake! Of course we had to eat the wedding cake which was Berries and Vanilla flavoured. Fluffy and tender crumbs topped with chantilly cream and fresh berries. Such a sweet and perfect ending to the course.

Towards the end of the reception, R's father made a speech in English, and N's brother helped to translate into Japanese so that the relatives could understand. One of N's uncle who stayed in Hokkaido (he was ex-Mayor of a town) also made a speech and invited us to Hokkaido next time. In fact, throughout the reception, many of N's relatives came forward to chat with us, made us feel at home as we were the only foreign guests present. They were ever so gracious, despite speaking limited English and I limited Japanese. They kept thanking us for attending the wedding even though it was a trying period for Tokyo, and saying that they were very appreciative and grateful. N's parents even gave us a gift. We were truly very touched by their graciousness and hospitality! This was really one of the best and most cozy wedding reception I have ever attended.

Thereafter, we took a cab back to the hotel. Although we were still high from the reception, we decided to just pack our luggage and rest for the night as we were catching an early flight the next day.
The next day after checking out, we still had 30 mins before the airport limousine bus scheduled arrival. So we quickly went to a nearby ramen shop for breakfast.

It was still very early (6am local time, 7am Sin time), there weren't any others in the shop.
We ordered a set meal which came with a bowl of ramen, half portion fried rice and gyoza. It was nice to warm the tummy with a hot bowl of soupy ramen.
The fried rice was excellent! Not too oily, and very fragrant with the addition of spring onions.
The skin of the gyoza was pan-fried to a crisp and the innards of pork filling oozing with juice. Nice!

Well, with the sumptuous breakfast, we rushed back to the hotel to board the airport limousine bus, off to the airport and back to SG.

This was indeed one of my most memorable trip to Japan, due to the fact that it was after a 2-year hiatus and most significantly, attended a Shinto Wedding followed by a special and cozy reception.

I missed Japan already :(

Stay tuned for the final part, some sharing of my shopping!!!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful wedding. And the wedding dinner looks amazing. Too bad you couldn't stay in Japan a bit longer. I'm sure you managed to buy some lovely things with your limited time though!