Once more on Marriage and TV
If you follow this blog you might have seen my original post on dating in Japan and my experience with the TV show Motemote99 (now Omiai99) or the post on getting married in Japan. From that you probably know that the lady I met on the show and I got married in February, and that the camera crews came along for the ride.
Last week the popular Tuesday night show Motemote99 returned as Omiai99. The four-hour special focused on the Self Defense Force omiai event in Okinawa, but along they way they snuck in a bit on our trip from proposal to legal marriage.
Since time was short on this episode and the focus was elsewhere the only showed a bit out of the roughly 5 days of footage they shot. Still, they did a great job of giving the basics. In case you missed it, or if you’re interested in a little more information here’s essentially how things went.
With my wife (Yui) planning to move to Kume Island prior to working here in April, I decided I wanted to ask her to marry me, but being from America I wanted to follow at least a few of my traditions. In Japan it is customary for a couple to talk to parents together. Instead, I visited my wife and her family in January. While she was occupied I took the time to ask her father for permission. Her whole family was in on it after that point, though she had no idea.
The next day, was Yui’s sister’s coming of age ceremony after seeing that we met the family for a celebratory lunch and the cameras showed up to get the family’s views on me. Afterward Yui and I left with cameras in tow. We visited the famous Aya suspension bridge and then headed for Sea Gaia a large resort complex near Miyazaki City for the last night of the Christmas Lights at the local garden. TBS helped me out by setting up a private gazebo for us to talk since there were hundreds of guests there for the lights. If you have a chance to see it, it is quite a spectacular display that runs from December through January. To throw Yui off I told her they would be interviewing us there.
After walking through, we found the gazebo. Since I didn’t know her ring size (I didn’t ask so she wouldn’t know) I bought her a Tiffany necklace and gave it to her as a present. She started to cry before opening the package, but was a little confused when it wasn’t a ring. I put it around her neck and then stepped back to do the tradition bended knee deal and gave her my high school ring when she looked around (we’ll have it reformed into our wedding bands). Of course I asked in English… which was a mistake since Yui doesn’t speak English… As with a lot of our conversations, however, we made do in Japanese.
After she said “thank you” (we still joke about the fact she never actually said yes) we got to wander around a bit and take some photos and see more lights. Yui’s family surprised us with a cake when we made it home.
The next day we visited Aoshima Shrine together before I returned to Kume Island. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait through a super long engagement.
With my mom planning to visit in February, and Yui and her mom coming to visit and meet her at the end of the trip, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to put the paperwork through while both our mothers were there. While they were here we visited Hateno Beach and our friends threw a combination welcome and congratulations party with an amazing sushi spread. We were also able to see the Kumiodori together (well, sort of. I was taking pictures the whole time in the back). We put the paperwork in the morning before everyone flew back home, and my mom baked a wedding cake to help make it a bit more memorable.
Once we were legally married, Yui had a lot of work to do in getting her name changed and preparing to move, so she left with her mother. She came in March to live and work. Of course in Japan and the States it common to have a wedding party. Since our friends and family are from so many places around Japan and the world, we postponed that until later this year so we can plan. It should be a great experience to share with you later in the year.
The whole experience was made all the more special due to the help and support of all the wonderful people on Kume Island. We look forward to another great year here together. The TBS team also helped us document these most special moments. It was great to meet Kato Noriko while she was here. She asked a lot of great questions and was very supportive though they had to cut a lot of that out due to time considerations. Thanks Gmans99!
I should also note that with help from Martin Freeman (Sherlock is hitting Japan) マーティン trended on twitter during the show. Never thought that would happen.