Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunset dinner cruises and princess carriages...

Remember when you were a little girl and liked to play dress up? And when I mean you, I really do mean you, rather than me, because I wasn't a huge dress-upper. I hated skirts and dresses and didn't ever grow out of this tomboyish preference. I would only wear dresses if they were formal ones for formal events that required one: weddings, homecoming and prom, Marine Corps ball... until the past few years. Now I enjoy getting my hair and makeup done, borrowing jewelry, finding a dress... as long as I don't have to do it more than a couple times a year.

I still resent the time it takes to get ready for these events... the number of hours spent on all the preparations is many more than the actual event itself. Shopping, planning, makeup, hair... it's exhausting. So, I employ professional for the hair and makeup because if I am going to waste the time, I might as well look great when I'm done... and hair and makeup are not in my top 10 skill set. And if you use the dresses, jewelry, shoes and accessories you already have from years of attending an annual ball, playing dress up is easy, and, dare I say... fun. Add a dinner cruise and a stroll through the holiday illumination in downtown Hiroshima, and you have a fabulous girls night out. And, for once, getting ready did NOT take as long as the evening of events.

A big thank you to Victoria Walters of Reflections and Catrina Tengan Makeup Artistry (right) for making me look so good.
So, yes, six of us got all dolled up and go on a dinner cruise out of Hiroshima for a belated birthday celebration for our friend, Chie. The average Japanese woman really only gets dressed up in formalwear on her wedding day... changing outfits as many as five times. But, before and after that life-altering event, not so much. The Japanese do not have senior prom or Marine Corps balls. So, it was Chie's wish to be able to dress up for an evening in a way Marine Corps wives take for granted. An excuse to dress up? Most wives have no problem with that. I was excited because I had a reason to wear the free gown I had gotten this year, but hadn't worn yet... sweet! Over the course of about six weeks, plans were made and they got more and more... involved. Our reservation for the cruise (open this link in Google Chrome and it will automatically translate to English for you) was made, and then we started making plans to get our hair and makeup done. If we were going to that extent, then we better get some photos done. Fortunately, I had that covered with the help of the spouse.

Then it was time to head for the Hiroshima Port to board the Galaxy cruise ship. We were doing the sunset dinner cruise, which is only on Sundays. Because the sun sets so early in December, we did miss the sunset, so if you are a huge sunset fan, I'd go at a time of year when the days are longer. But the ambiance was wonderful, the service excellent, and the French-inspired cuisine delicious.

The pink line is the route the ship took. The dinner cruise was about 2 hours long.

A harpist played for about 20 minutes during dinner. And was followed by...
... music from a phonograph-like player, built more than 100 years ago in America.
The menu for the evening included "poisson" and "pain."

This may be the smallest cup of coffee I have ever seen.
 Midway through the cruise, the ship stopped briefly at the famous Miyajima torii gate. The torii wasn't well lit, so it was hard to photograph... so we photographed ourselves out on the (very cold) deck.

Then we added plans for a stroll around Peace Boulevard to see the lights. Being the smart women we are, we planned ahead and brought warm jackets and comfortable shoes...

This one was taken by a Japanese woman who happened to be at the illumination.
We did draw quite a bit of attention... especially when we were near the light displays that looked like Disney princess gear, like castles and carriages and... outlines of Elsa.

I'm sure we are on the Japanese versions of Twitter and Facebook. Tag us if you see us. ;)

Thank you to Britt and Chie for allowing me to use some of your photos from this adventure for this post!

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