Today is my wife’s and my seventh wedding anniversary. I am really looking forward to it.
Every year, we have our own little tradition that started on our first anniversary when our daughter was just two months old.
You know when you go to tourist sights, you often see a line of artists: some drawing buildings, some doing portraits and others doing caricature? Well, I had always been an old stick-in-the-mud and avoided these like the plague – forever haunted by a comment outside Notre Dame in Paris in 1995: “Hey, big nose!”
But finally on April 11th 2009 at Venus Fort in Odaiba, Tokyo with our daughter in tow, my wife persuaded me to take the plunge. Here’s the result:
I seem to have a little scowl on my face. I wasn’t scowling, I was just nervous how it might turn out!
In fact, I was quite pleased with the result, though I did come out with a big nose. Don’t you think I look a bit French? Perhaps it was some secret pact between the Japanese artist, Hiro and the guy near Notre Dame fourteen years earlier. My wife and daughter came out well, don’t you think?
Year Two (2010)
The next year, we again had another drawing. We used the same company, Caricature Japan (which I can highly recommend). We always use them. They have several branches mainly in shopping malls around the Tokyo area – as well as in Kyoto and Osaka. We have been to their dedicated shops in Asakusa and Shibuya, but also to Odaiba (where there are a couple of booths) and Yokohama.
The artist was different from the first one, as it has been each year since. This is all part of the fun and anticipation as we wonder how it’s going to turn out.
2010 is one of my favourites as we are all actually smiling, and my daughter’s personality really shines through.
Excuse my photo of the drawing. I have cut off the artist’s name Shio and got a light reflection on the picture.
Year Three (2011)
Exactly a month after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, we went to the Aka Renga Soko in Yokohama for this drawing. At a time when everyone was in deep sadness and the nation was refusing to spend money in a mass act of self restraint, the red-brick shopping centre converted from an old port warehouse was almost deserted.
The artist (Shokoii) captures the hope that sakura cherry blossom (a sign of spring renewal) was bringing back to Japan.
Year Four (2012)
We also went to Aka Renga Soko in 2012 but to a different booth (they have two there). This was when our daughter still hadn’t lost her “puppy fat”. I didn’t like this picture so much at the time because it made me start to think that I wasn’t such a good parent for letting my daughter get too fat.
Year Five (2013)
Our first Family of Four portrait. Our son was just three months old at the time – even at this very early age, you can see mischief waiting to break through! 🙂 This and the next one are another two of my personal favourites!
Year Six (2014)
This one was drawn last year. While some pictures take a while to grow on me, I loved this one as soon as I saw it!
And so today, we’re off to Odaiba again to have our picture drawn. I am really looking forward to seeing how it turns out!