Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Holy! Matrimony

A number of years ago one of my good Japanese friends from university admitted that she had been keeping a secret from me - she was in a relationship! It had to be kept a secret because she and the guy in question worked in the same lab as research assistants. As time went on and the relationship developed, however, it became increasingly difficult to keep quiet, especially as they moved in together less than six months into the relationship.

All that I cared about was that my friend was happy. Her previous relationship had ended quite a while before and had been a bad one that ended even worse. She was lonely and fragile. But her new boyfriend seemed to be treating her right. He would carry her bag for her, made her eat properly and regularly (two things she didn't always manage to do when busy and stressed) and made her smile and laugh. She seemed happier than I had ever seen her. All very good things!

Then two years ago she asked me to join her for lunch, saying she wanted my advice on something. I was worried as she sounded serious, but it turned out she had a second secret to share - she was married! They had signed the papers at their local city hall a few weeks beforehand. I was cautiously thrilled - worried because her reasoning for getting married was that his parents had said they would buy the young couple an apartment if they'd do the paperwork. But over the months I watched them, I saw my friend settle down and mature, become more capable and grounded. I watched her husband look after her in myriad of small ways. And I relaxed. They were happy and things were good. They announced they were going to belatedly hold a ceremony. They wanted both U and I to attend. U was excited as I've really missed being able to attend the weddings of friends outside of Japan.

And then my friend said she had another secret for me. I was all set to start knitting her a baby blanket when she said that they didn't have enough money for a full ceremony and so were finding ways to cut corners... One way was the priest / wedding official person. The secret? The big surprise guaranteed to amuse the audience? That'd be the fact that the priest would be a foreigner, and not just any foreigner!!

So apparently I'm officiating a wedding in April.

Then today I got a text from my friend asking if I happened to have a gown or black robe lying about... It does solve the question of what to wear and I suppose it is better than a hideous bridesmaid dress?


  1. sounds like fun, actually! i wonder where you can find a robe, though....

  2. hey

    i am a canadian who hasd been trying to come to japan but failing every time i do (whv, exchange, eikaiwa)

    so i enjiy reading quiet, understated blogs like yours about someone who has actually succeeded where i have failed.

    your blog's a lot nicer that way than most. please keep it up.


  3. WHY is everything in this country such a secret! It's ridonkulous. Same thing happens to me all the time - people have secret boyfriends and husbands and babies and it's just... ugh.

    It really ruins the fun of things! What about double dates and engagement parties and shiz? LETS GET ON IT JAPAN!

  4. Illahee - my friend says robes can be rented. I'm not religious, but I'm not sure I feel comfortable impersonating a priest... But I am looking forward to the experience! :)

    Usman - thanks! Good luck trying to get to Japan!

    sarah - I KNOW!! Seriously the secrecy gets me! It makes me suspicious that there is something wrong, some dark reason WHY it needs to be kept secret. Gah!!