Saturday, 16 November 2013

November 11

In Canada November 11 is Remembrance Day, a day to think of the sacrifices made by those who fought in WWI and WWII.

In the US the same day  is called Veterans Day and in New Zealand and Belgium it is called Armistice Day.

In Japan it used to be recognized as Armistice Day, prior to WWII it was recognized as a day to think about peace. Now? Well, now it is Pocky and Pretz Day - as the four number 1s lined up look like sticks of pocky or pretz all lined up.

In China it has become known as Singles Day, to celebrate "single sticks" or bachelors.

For U and I November 11 is now our anniversary (or rather one of an increasingly lengthening list thereof). On Monday we filed our paperwork at city hall. Although we will be waiting until next year to hold our wedding ceremony and related receptions, we are now legally married. Anything I have ever heard or read about the process of filing your paperwork to get married at Japanese city hall has said it is anything but romantic. So it was no real surprise to me that it hardly felt like we were actually getting married. We submitted our paperwork, answered questions, filled out more paperwork (and then some more again because we had to merge our two households and our registered addresses differed in the way in which we had written the number of our apartment. U's previous form said "Apartment Name, # X" while mine just said "Apartment Name, X" So before we could merge our households U had to change his address to the same as mine... Or I could have changed mine - and then had to change my foreign resident card)

Then we sat (or I sat and knitted and U wandered about upsetting the staff member set to help poor lost citizens who wandered about city hall without knowing where to go) and waited.

And waited.

And then we were called up and asked to pay for our requested copies of our marriage registration. We paid, the clerk offered a congratulations, and gave us our change.

And we were married.

(It still seems rather odd and surreal, and we both agreed that whatever the legal record says, we're waiting until our ceremony next fall for our ring exchange and to say that we are married.)


  1. In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Every Nov 11 I read this poem. I also have a poppy in Japan, but didn't wear it. :( Too many questions from students for what I deemed to be too depressing for most of them who want to be entertained...

    As for the wedding, congrats! My friend did the same. He actually had a really weird system. He had his honeymoon about 2 years before he got married. Well, 2 years before the ceremony. He got legally married and didn't really tell anyone. Having dinner with him and a few other close friends, they all said "WHAT?!?!" when I told them. Actually, come to think of it, I think we were having dinner together on the night he got the paperwork done. His wife was not with us at the time...

    He also didn't start wearing his ring until the ceremony. Took another year for that to happen though.

    Anyways, one last congratulations!

    1. Thanks Dru! I was lucky enough a few years ago to be in Ypres on November 11. Apart from attending various memorial ceremonies we also visited cemetaries and a site with a memorial to John McCrae and the poem. It was a very powerful experience!

  2. That is pretty non-romantic, but yay all the same! And it's the same wedding anniversary as my parents =) Crazy! Do couples in Japan wait as long as you are between paperwork and cermony? Or do they have the two "events" closer together?

    1. Thanks Colletters! It isn't all that common, but perhaps not uncommon? I know a number of people submit the paperwork in the morning before the ceremony, thus doing everything together on the same day. But I also have a couple of friends who did the paperwork and waited for a ceremony - mostly for monetary reasons. There may have been a year or even a few years before they were able to afford the party, but wanted or needed to be legally married in the meantime. It also depends on location. For U and I we had to file in the city where we both live, which is not near where we're having the ceremony so we had to separate the two anyways, and we figured we should get the paperwork done as early as possible in case there were any hiccups along the way.

      And a happy belated anniversary to your parents! :D

  3. Oh my goodness! Oh my giddy aunt! How on earth did I miss this? It's almost your 7th anniversary and here comes Ru on Africa time! o.0


    So you were knitting and U was wandering about. :D Do you have photos?

    1. Heh, thanks Ru!

      I was knitting and U was wandering about - how apt is that? ;) No photos, sadly, U was freaking out the helper lady enough, I didn't think she needed any more stress. And it was just so unreal...!

  4. Congratulations! So you'll have 2 wedding anniversaries, one for the civil part, and one for the wedding day celebrations, sounds great to me! Mind you, any excuse for a party suits me! I shall raise a much belated glass to you both!

    1. Thanks!

      And one for our reception in Vancouver (which will be our "wedding" for many friends/family in Canada)... and the anniversary we celebrate now (after four years Yu has finally started remembering the date we started dating)...

      The more the merrier, I suppose? More chances to raise a glass, more chances to celebrate with friends and family, more chances to celebrate just the two of us!