Published: June 14th 2008June 13th 2008
This is a little late in the posting, but in my/our defence, we've been offline until very recently.
I'm bloody married!!!!
Amazing and fabulous that this 'journey', which started back in February 04 has arrived here. There have been twists and turns, good and bad, but this bit is fantastic. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mr Richard Christopher Budd and Mrs Mitsuyo Kosaka.*
So, how do you get married in Japan? Well, it's not unlike getting a visa. We had to get a bunch of paperwork together, including a form from my consulate which says I'm not married to anyone else (as far they can guess), my birth certificate, evidence of living in Japan and so on and so forth. Then you go along to the local city office, they put it all together, type into a computer, print a form to be stamped and that's it- you're married. We had to pay Y300 for a certificate, but other than that, it's free. There is no ceremony required- it's totally optional and absolutely unrelated to the legal process of wedding two people together (it is popular here to have an obscenely expensive, Japanese-western hybrid mock wedding). Because
From left to right...
Back row: Katsuyasan, Hiroyoshisan, Osamusan, Masakosan, Junkosan, Akkun, Makisan
Front Row: Richi, Mitchan
we got married in Mitsu's relatively small home town, the office side of things was slightly more entertaining as they don't process many Japanese-foreign pairings. The civil servant dealing with our case had a real sweat on as he scuttled between the manual, us and his supervisor. But he got there in about 45 minutes, about 3 litres lighter than when he started. It's a real non-event in many ways, being a formality (provided you have all the documents), afterwards we went home and had booze, sushi and generally got our heads round the idea.
We had looked into having a wedding party of some kind, but logistically and financially, this was not an option. First off. most of my people are scattered all over the world and don't speak Japanese. However, we had a bit of a family do the next day, and this was very wedding-like. It was wonderful and thoughtfully planned and made the whole thing sink in; there were speeches, tears, nakedness and good food. What else could you ask for? We had a private room booked at a really nice hotel in Takarazuka, and we got all suited and booted for it. This was
Woop, there it is.
With a final flourish of the stamp, we're married!
close family only- bride and groom, Mitsu's Ma/Pa, brother, uncle/aunt, Ma's parents. Small but perfectly formed. We each had our own little tables and the good food and beer/sake kept rolling. My father-in-law gave a speech which brought on a few tears. Not mine, I was oblivious to most of it, it being out of my league in terms of the Japanese; I did, though, catch the Shakespeare at the end- beauty is not in the eye but in the mind. Nice work, Hiroyoshi-san. We broke a ceremonial sake barrel, toasted alot, then I gave a speech (in Japanese, home-made but lightly edited by a friend, cheers Lincoln). It was all going well until about two thirds of the way through, when this lump in my throat spread to my tear ducts and left me momentarily unable to continue. Pathetic, but thankfully I was saved too much shame by waterworks in most corners of the room. Score! We exchanged rings, had a little smooch, cut the cake, hugged all round (very un-Japanese!), then the boys among us went upstairs to check out the hot spring on the roof. I don't anyone else who got naked with the bride's family after
the wedding. Anywhere, there were good views (over the balcony!) and the water was nice. And that was it, we headed home to our new place, feeling alot more married than when we'd arrived. An enormous, heartfelt and very grateful shout goes out to the planners and executors of this event (cards have been sent).
We've moved in to a new flat in a different part of a different town. We've graduated from sharing two one-room flats to having a seemingly palatial three-roomed pad. We're like pigs in poop, very happy. So now we have a spare room, for any of you who thought you might like to pop over...
So, there you have it. Three cheers for the bride and groom. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
* A few people have asked about names. For the time being, we're keeping ourselves as we are. You can only have two names in Japan, and Mitsu wanted to keep her family name, initially as a middle one. But that doesn't work here unless you double-barrel something. Budd-Kosaka or variations thereof sound dafter the Chuckle Brothers. We might change in the future, then again we may not. It's not important.
There are more photos below