Marriage, weddings and new beginnings!

The inspiration for this post was the British Royal Wedding of 2011.

The Royal Wedding

I love weddings! The Royal couple was so sweet and I’m looking forward to more pictures. I giggled watching Prince Harry grinning and whispering reports to Prince William as he snuck peaks at Catherine making her way up the aisle.

A Chinese Wedding

I also love the simple and poignant marriage of an acquaintance. She got married in the 1960s in China. She worked at a factory in Beijing and her husband-to-be worked at a factory in Shanghai. They registered their marriage at city hall and then celebrated with six other people and a big bag of candy her husband had bought. Her employer gave them a red box inscribed with words of Mao Zedong.

Our Wedding #1 at City Hall

The day before my marriage, I taught my last day of classes at the company where I worked, said good-bye to my students, finished paperwork and crashed.

The next morning, I caught the first highway bus to move to Tokyo. Hitoshi had taken the day off work and we had specific times when we could process paperwork at two locations on opposite sides of Tokyo. We immediately went to the Canadian embassy to get my permission slip for marriage. For $50, I received a mandatory document that stated that I was sane enough to marry.

Our next stop was the city office in the ward where we lived but H realized that he had forgotten paperwork at another city office as soon as we arrived. Stress! We made our way back across enormous Tokyo, got the paperwork and backtracked to the first office to start the marriage process.

Two hours later after filling in a stack of forms, translating documents, signing papers, photocopying passports, wiping sweat from our brows and alternating moments of frantic activity with waiting on a bench, H shook my hand (?!) and we were formally registered as married. (I discovered that a public display of affection was not going to happen in front of 30 civil servants.)

The best part of the experience was the woman who served us. The apron she wore over her casual clothing made her look as if she’d just left her kitchen. She continuously lost her pencil, plunging her hands deep into her apron pockets or loudly slapping the messy desk with her palms while asking herself where her pencil had gone this time. She wrote my name as  ヒラリ, but H corrected her and she responded with  ヒラリーーーーー, which is like saying Hi-la-reeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Her show was rounded out with calling H only by his first name, which is comically informal. I wanted to take her home with us!

We finally escaped the office area to the top floor of the building. There, the formality evaporated and we shared our first married kiss while watching the sun set. Our last stop was for ramen at a nearby Chinese restaurant chain.

 Wedding #2 on a mountain

24 days later, we held a Shinto wedding ceremony at a mountain shrine with our families and close friends.

happy couple

after our ceremony at a Shinto shrine

Here’s to marriage, weddings and new beginnings!

Have you seen or experienced any weddings out of the ordinary?

4 thoughts on “Marriage, weddings and new beginnings!

  1. We got married in some Osaka city hall. It was just the two of us, we filled out all the paperwork, stamped our hankos, chose Umeda Sky Building as our koseki address (as we were leaving the country soon and our marriage was a secret from his family), and handed the paperwork in. We were told to wait in the waiting area with dozens of strangers. We got called back to correct some mistake, and were told to go and wait again. We got called to the desk again and told we were now married. Just like that. And that was it. We left the building and took a selfie of us kissing in the bicycle parking lot. In one week it will be our fifth anniversary, but we still haven’t had a proper wedding in front of family and friends. We still don’t even have wedding rings, but we are currently working on a page boy/ringbearer for our some-day-wedding. Actually, we’re hoping to also create a flower girl before our big day comes, when it comes ;).

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story! I really appreciate hearing another experience. It’s not something I’ve read much about. And I love that you chose Umeda as your address. That’s my favorite spot in the little bit of Osaka I’ve experienced. 😀 And quite apropos, given the love lock garden up in the sky.

      • That’s exactly why we choose Umeda Sky Building! After City Hall, we went up there to have a pink heart lock engraved with the date and our names. We knew we were going to do that and it would be the only thing we would leave in Japan to commemorate our commitment, so that’s why it’s our koseki address. When we visited Japan in May we went up there to see and as expected our lock is still there, after 4.5 years. There are so many locks there, but we found ours quickly. That made us so happy! It’s something we’ll want to take our kids to see someday.

        • Wonderful! It looks like love locks are taking over in different parts of the world, often to the detriment of the structures they are attached to. I like how the sky garden put aside a special spot.

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