My wife and I were married on May 15th, 2010 or possibly May 16th. It’s been a whole year, so it’s to be expected that some details are vague.
Our relatives were invited to a dinner party on the 15th, which was a Saturday. After the party ended, we drove to city hall at night and filed our paperwork. Official records will show our marriage occurring on that date. At mid-day on Sunday the 16th we had a wedding ceremony and party, so we think of that date as our wedding.
We held the ceremony in Kameyama at a restaurant called Tsuki no Niwa (The Garden of the Moon), outside under the trees. We stood with our two officiants in a gazebo with our guests seated in front.
Both of us were hoping to eat there soon, so we decided it would be perfect to spend our first anniversary there remembering the day’s events. Kaori, the owner, is a friend of ours and she came out to chat with us. She arranged a special table in the gazebo where, the same as last year, the weather was gorgeous.
We started dining around 1 :30pm, with Appletiser instead of champagne. My wife was driving and I didn’t have much interest in drinking champagne without her. We toasted our first year and our hopes for our second.
Our entire meal was organic vegetarian. Typically, I love fish and meats, but eat more vegetables and fruits; however, the vegetarian creations at Tsuki no Niwa are always very satisfying. Balance of colors, textures, flavors, and health are all well attended to in their preparations. Our first plate had four small dishes, one being tofu with egoma, which many people mistake for a kind of sesame, based on the name; yet, it is really a seed from the shiso plant.
Ebi Chili is a popular dish in Japan made with shrimp. The owner created a dish called Eri Chili, with similar spice and sauce, but replaced the shrimp with eringe mushrooms. We were delighted with this one. Spring rolls and shumai dishes were also served. A very satisfying blend of flavors.
During the meal, Shunsuke – who was the manager of the restaurant during the wedding – dropped in to talk and brought a bouquet of flowers for each of us. It was very touching. He has since moved on to taking care of other projects, such as a monthly organic market in Seki, so we felt honored that he would make the time for us.
Our final dishes were whole rice with pickled radish and plum; and, mabo tofu. Mabo is often made with ground meat, but ours had a dark millet instead, which gave an amusing texture.
Planning everything for our wedding was a little hectic to say the least, and we missed a few details. Perhaps the largest gaffe was when we realized a couple weeks before the wedding, that we had no cake. An executive decision was made to do without, saddened by our parting from Western tradition. During the wedding reception, once guests had eaten a fair quantity of food, Shunsuke got ahold of me and wanted me to corral my wife and get to our table.
Ai-chan then carried a cake to our table and presented it to us. Were I not an emotionally restrained American, I would have been bawling, but I managed to smile a lot with glistening eyes. Since we were going to Tsuki no Niwa for the anniversary, I requested that we have the same cake again. She produced a lovely, smaller version, for us. Large enough to share with the staff and still have leftovers for the next day.
Hearing “tofu cream cake” for the first time, I can tell you, I was a little suspicious; however, it was incredibly good – as you may have guessed by my insistence on ordering it for the anniversary meal.
With all our chatting and listening to the birds in the trees, it was 6pm by the time we finished lunch and were on our way. I really love Kaori and her restaurant and I hope to visit again soon.