A stag night of debauchery followed by a lovely Summer’s day, church bells ringing, the brides beautiful long white dress, lots of family and friends present, confetti thrown everywhere, some witty and entertaining speeches, a highly decorated wedding cake, free-flowing champagne, a fantastic evening reception and the anticipation of a glorious honeymoon in an exotic country!! Well, sadly NONE of those traditions applied to us today as we finally got married in the glamorous setting of Shinjuku City Hall!!
Having proposed in Yangon (Rangoon) in Myanmar (Burma) on Christmas Day last year I wasn’t in too much of a rush to decide a date which is of course what most people have wanted to know ever since the announcement was made public! I just wanted to enjoy the engagement for a while but with people often asking if we had a date we were tired of saying that nothing had been decided yet. Eventually things just fell into place as we knew we wanted to ideally be married by the time of our trip back to the UK later this Summer. In the end July 7th was chosen as I had that day (also not a public holiday) off as a holiday and Rina could easily switch her Wednesday off for the Monday in question.
I put the wheels in motion last month as the process of getting hitched isn’t so easy. In order to get married in Japan I had to send a form to and make an appointment with the British Embassy which then involved swearing on the bible that I was not married already or something to that effect. Having managed to resist swearing my head off and turning the air blue I then had to cough up £65 (11,300 yen) for them to stick a piece of paper on a wall in the office stating our wish to get married. If no-one objected to this over the space of a week or so then it was ok to go ahead and get married once I’d revisited and paid another £65 for “administration costs.”
Of course no-one saw fit for us to not get married and even if they did the chances of them seeing this piece of paper on the wall of an office within the confined and secure area of the embassy was always going to be very small!
When it was mentioned to some people back in England that we’d be getting married this month, I think they had visions of some kind of registry office event but unbelievably it was even less glamorous than that for all we had to do was simply just fill in and sign a sheet of paper which was then handed in alongside some other documents. Mind you, this is Japan so when it comes to administration nothing is ever straightforward! Approximately 40 minutes of waiting then followed whilst the clerk did something or another and then our number was called and that was it! The knot had well and truly been tied!
Furthermore, the 7th of July in Japan is known as Tanabata (star festival) which celebrates the romantic meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are only allowed to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month albeit only for a brief moment. With all this in mind and the fact that we had the day off it was the ideal, memorable date to finally get married.* Afterwards we went to mark the occasion at the New York Bar & Grill in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Nishi-Shinjuku which you can read about here.