Tag Archives: yuko

Japan 2014 – 46 Komagane – Terrance and Yuko Brown’s Wedding Day (2014-10-12) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 DEC 2015

Finally, after nearly two weeks of sightseeing in Japan, the real reason for Ryan and I being in the country was at last upon us.

Amazingly, our smart clothes that had journeyed with us still looked reasonably smart, which was a good thing considering the fact that in Japan, weddings are usually quite a smart affair.

The day had arrived. Longtime friend Terrance was to marry the girl of his dreams, Yuko.

IMG_20141012_104800 yuko and terrance brown wedding pamphlet, komagane, japan

We were ferried to Komagane from Ina by Yuko’s father, who we had now met a handful of times over the course of the last couple of days – a tricky venture considering the fact that he doesn’t have any English and we have no Japanese.

However, we made it to the hotel together with Hester and Terry (Terrance’s parents) with plenty of time to spare, and we were ushered to a room where we were to wait with any other arriving family before being allowed into another room where the two families would get to see Yuko and Terrance in their traditional wedding outfits and be introduced to one another.

IMG_20141012_113405 yuko, terrance, terry and hester brown and the wedding, komagane, japan

The wedding ceremony itself was short and sweet, and hilariously, the first thing to go wrong on our entire Japanese trip went and happened at the ceremony itself – the lady priest forgot an important symbolic step of the ceremony!

IMG_20141012_114218 yuko and terrance brown getting married, komagane, japan

Luckily she remembered it on the way out, and so the entire guest contingent was ushered to the outside courtyard where Yuko and Terrance once again made a grand appearance and completed their ceremony to the cheers of everyone there!

(And by cheers, I do of course mean strict silence, with jubilation strictly happening once the go ahead was given. Very, very disciplined the Japanese.)

IMG_20141012_120012 terrance and yuko wedding segment, komagane, japan

Naturally, it was an absolutely awesome experience and such a privilege that Ryan and I could be there to witness Terrance and Yuko’s big day!

IMG_20141012_121557 ryan and craig lotter, with yuko and terrance brown at their wedding, komagane, japan

Of course, no wedding can be complete without a big reception (even if there isn’t really any dancing at a Japanese wedding), and we were seated down in a beautifully decorated room for a series of speeches and of course food.

Lots and lots of food – seven courses if I remember correctly!

(NOTE: Chantelle is absolutely furious that I took one single photo of all that interesting Japanese cuisine!)

IMG_20141012_123146 wedding food at terrance and yuko's wedding in komagane, japan

(Also, Terrance had kindly seated Ryan and myself with some of his colleagues from one of the schools that he had previously taught at, meaning that two or three of the ladies had some English at their disposal, which in turn meant that some decent conversations were actually possible for a change!)

IMG_20141012_133545 ryan and craig lotter, with yuko and terrance brown at their wedding, komagane, japan

We had a lovely time at a lovely wedding for a lovely couple.

In other words, a better end to our two week long holiday in Japan we could not have asked for! :)

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xxxHOLiC (Volume 5) Manga | My Reviews 17 AUG 2008

xxxHOLiC Volume5Kimihiro Watanuki is the indentured servant of Yuko, the beautiful but completely unpredictable Space-Time Witch. He must work at her bizarre wish-granting shop until he can pay off his own wish: to be free of the spirits that haunt him. Yuko’s latest customer is a rain spirit who wants Kimihiro dispatched on a rescue mission. Little does Kimihiro know that this mission will take him to death’s door!

And that’s not his only problem: A cute spirit has given him a Valentine’s Day present, which means he’s obligated by Japanese custom to return the favour. What do you get a girls who may not even exist in this world?

Volume 5 of xxxHOLiC continues the mystical and spiritual misadventures of the extremely excitable but unlucky in all sense of the word Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who can see and has been plagued by the spirit world all his life. A chance meeting with the beautiful but unpredictable space-time witch Yuko Ichihara who’s business it is to grant wishes has given Watanuki the chance to finally be rid of the spirit world for good – but in exchange the hapless student now needs to work in her mystical shop where all manner of things spiritual and downright scary abound anyway!

This volume sees Watanuki and Domeki team up once again, this time on the behest of a rain sprite that employs their help in attempting a rescue of something that lies beneath the red hydrangea patch. And of course this being a spirit world request, the danger that lies in wait for them is best left unsaid.

Second up is the mystery surrounding one of the girls that happens to attend the same school as what Domeki and Watanuki do. This girl used to be pretty normal, quiet and reserved, but now there is something a little odd about this girl’s behaviour around other people, particularly when they cause her insult – all of which may just be linked to the strange angel-like feathers growing out of her back!

And then finally it is time for Watanuki to make good on his gift received on Valentine’s Day (Japanese custom dictates boys returning the favour received from girls on ‘White Day’), even if the person he needs to compensate happens to be a spirit that resides all the way out on Reisen mountain.

xxxHOLiC is produced by the super popular, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) a while ago but word of their work soon caught on and being of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world. Some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth, just to name a few!

As always xxxHOLiC’s writing is based in well researched Japanese folklore and then mixed up with some targeted social commentary which is then brought to us courtesy of the loveable Watanuki and his various adventures in the spirit world. For the first time since the series started, the story introduces a new, darker back-story for Yuko, laying the foundation for what surely will be an exciting storyline to follow in the future and a welcome break from Watanuki and company’s usually comedic antics.

The writing is once again well paced and the self-contained story arcs are all satisfying and all have something to say, at the same time continuing to build up the main characters and lay the foundations for the future volumes all at once. The stories keep you guessing and CLAMP do a good job of building intrigue and mystery into their arcs, particularly noteworthy if you consider the length of each self-contained arc in the volume.

There is a lot more of a darker feeling to this particular volume and slowly but surely the stakes for Watanuki’s spirit world interventions are on the rise. However, that said, the writing retains its comical nature and xxxHOLiC will have you laughing out a loud more than once.

Visually CLAMP continue their trademark elongated character proportions which gives xxxHOLiC such a distinct yet thoroughly pleasing look. Character and character costume designs are exquisite as always, though I still feel that they are a little light on backgrounds at the moment. The clean, heavyset lines makes for very attractive visuals and combined with the attention to both simplified facial lines and super-deformed character expressions (where necessary – which with Watanuki happens to be often) makes for a very good looking book, just as you’ve come to expect from the CLAMP masters.

Overall, xxxHOLiC volume 5 really doesn’t put a foot wrong and CLAMP produce a beautiful, easy to read work that is drenched in drama and spiritual mystery but at the same time carries all the humour that makes xxxHOLiC as unique and fun as it is.

Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining, you would do well to pick up this volume – as well as all of those that precede it!

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC

xxxHOLiC (Volume 4) Manga | My Reviews 02 AUG 2008

xxxHOLiC Volume 4It’s Valentine’s Day – and while Domeki is showered with chocolates and cards from girls, Watanuki receives none. To make matters worse, he must also do the usual chores for Yuko, which includes making chocolate cake for her and Mokona, as well as the treats his boss wants to give away as gifts. But when Watanuki discovers he has a shy and secret admirer who is not quite human, he finds that chocolates can be more than just sweets.


Then, after seeing identical twin sisters pass by in the street, Yuko makes a curious remark: that there are chains that only humans can use to bind others. Watanuki meets the sisters and senses that the relationship between them is not what it seems…

Volume 4 of xxxHOLiC continues the mystical and spiritual misadventures of the excellent cook but unlucky in everything else Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who has been plagued by youkai (spirits), who seemingly have a very strong attraction to him, for all his life. A chance (?) meeting with the trans-dimensional witch known simply as Yuko Ichihara, a mysterious and beautiful (if a little self-involved) woman whose business it is to grant wishes, promises to rid Watanuki of these spirits for good – but as a fair exchange Watanuki is now forced to work in her mystical shop!

So easily-excitable and over reactive Watanuki now finds himself cooking and running small errands dealing with both the supernatural and normal household chores, all while having to deal with his stoic and athletic ‘rival’ Shizuka Domeki, who has all the luck with women and seems to be the exact opposite of Watanuki! And then of course there is Himawari Kunogi, sweet little Himawari, who Watanuki would just die for – it’s just too bad that she doesn’t seem to feel quite so strongly about him!

This time around it is Valentine’s Day, and as expected, the girls aren’t exactly lining up to present Watanuki with any chocolates this year! However, with Watanuki’s strange attraction of all that is spiritual, it comes as no wonder that there is a particular little girl that takes an interest in him – and who steals a very special ‘chocolate’ in order to present to him – the consequences of which leads to a very madcap and desperate chase around the skies of the city!

The second story arc for this volume deals with two beautiful twins who seemingly get on with each other like a house on fire but happen to be complete opposites in terms of personality – and it all has to do with the ‘chains’ that only humans can use to bind with explains Yuko. Of course, unable just to leave the problem alone, Watanuki (and Domeki) find themselves drawn into the lives of the twins which may just prove too tough a nut to crack for either of them!

The volume then closes off with two quick fire encounters which serves to teach Watanuki the smallest of lessons, but lessons that are sure to make him grow just that little much more.

xxxHOLiC is produced by legendary, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) but soon word of their work caught on and because it was of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world, with some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth just to name a few! They are currently publishing three ongoing titles in Japan, namely Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNICLE, xxxHOLiC and Gohou Drug.

As per usual, the story is drenched in Japanese folklore and legend and oozes with spiritual and supernatural phenomena which provide the backbone for all of Watanuki’s unusual encounters. A strong theme throughout the series is the ongoing growth of Watanuki through serious and often dramatic scenarios and Volume 4 continues this tradition very nicely. The writing style is the usual madcap mix of drama and comedy, with the very hyperactive and over-reactive Watanuki taking first and foremost stage. The comical relationship between him, Domeki and Himawari is plumbed for material as always, with the odd little black mokona and Maru & Moro providing a little extra comical relief when needed.

All the stories contained within the book are nicely laid out, easy to follow and all try to say something, which makes xxxHOLiC even more enjoyable to read as you can enjoy it on both an intellectual and just plain fun level at the same time.

Artistically, CLAMP continue their tradition of exaggerated proportions which gives the book a nice and unique feel without being too jarring all at once. They make frequent use of super-deformed and exaggerated facial expressions for the comedy bits, and this blends in well with the overall style of the book. All the characters are beautifully designed and detailed, particularly Yuko and the multitude of finely designed costumes that she wears every day, but it must be noted that CLAMP seemed particularly lazy when it came to backgrounds in this volume because they are rather sparse in appearance and are often just substituted for a bunch of linear lines instead of surrounding objects! Still, their relatively solid and clean lines make for a very easy viewing and this helps the book flow just that much better.

Overall, xxxHOLiC volume 4 is a nicely self-contained read that delivers on everything that is good about xxxHOLiC. It looks good, reads straightforward and provides a generous dose of comedy and drama, all drenched in Japanese folklore, ghosts and mysteries. So if you liked CLAMP’s other works, then you’ll probably enjoy this one as well!

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (Volume 3) Manga | My Reviews 03 APR 2008

Tsubasa Volume 3Can pure determination defeat a master magician? Sakura is awake, but she remembers almost nothing – certainly not Syaoran, who has sacrificed everything to help her. Accompanied by the happy-go-lucky Fai, the intense Kurogane, and the strikingly odd creature Mokona Modoki, Sakura and Syaoran make their way into a new universe where a traveling magician has suddenly become frighteningly powerful and is terrorizing an entire town. Only a few independent-minded stragglers remain to battle for control of their own lives. Fai, the lone magician in the group, traded his magical powers to the dimension witch, xxxHOLiC’s Yuko, before the journey started. Without a weapon with which to fight, can the extraordinary group of friends defeat a master magician who can control the Earth’s elements?

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is the longest running manga serialization from the super popular CLAMP ladies whom basically anyway who calls themselves a manga fan should know about. Volume 3 of Tsubasa continues the adventures of the unlucky Syaoran who is continuing on his heartbreaking quest to try and help retrieve Sakura’s feathers, the embodiment of her soul and memories that have been scattered across countless dimensions. Their latest dimension jump lands them thick in the middle of trouble and before long Syaoran and the rest of the team get dragged into that’s world’s politics as they befriend a young woman and end up taking on the corrupt self-imposed leader who may or may not have one of Sakura’s feathers at his disposal.

As per usual, the writing style for CLAMP constantly switches from high drama, to heady romance, to action, to quirky one-liners, to all out humour. The storytelling is as touching as what it is humorous and still manages to switch up gears into all out action mode. Volume 3 ends up being a thoroughly enjoyable volume that covers all the bases and pushes Syaoran and the gang headfirst into yet another trans-dimensional action adventure and leaves you waiting in anticipation for the next volume thanks to the cliffhanger at the end.

Visually, Tsubasa carries the trademark elongated character models and it is a style that marks it distinctively as being a CLAMP creation, even if it takes a little while to begin appreciating their unique take on proportion. That said, the line work is as fluid and detailed as always and the entire manga oozes skill and hard work. The fighting scenes in particular are rather well done, and the artists go to great lengths to depict fairly accurate stances and techniques – which is particularly nice if you consider the story is taking place in a fantasy realm.

As always, the highly detailed “normal” artwork gets injected with a lot of deformed characters for the humour sake, but the meld between story and art is so good that the deformed sequences feel completely as if they were meant to be there in the first place.

Tsubasa continues the great work laid out in the first two volumes and seeing as it still continues today, you know it is going to continue growing and evolving into something special from this point onwards. It is a touching, action packed story that contains more than enough humour to prevent it from being dragged down to being just a plain, emotional action drama story and instead gives you something light and fluffy but at the same time substantial enough that you will fall in love with the characters and enjoy a thoroughly entertaining escape from reality.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsubasa_Reservoir_Chronicle