Saturday, February 23

Gokekkon Omedetougozaimasu, Aya-sensei!

Abbey Howell-sama

Today my Aya-sensei got married. She's known her new husband since they were 12 years old, and I believe he will be a good man for her.

Since my Aya-sensei loves me so much, she invited me to her wedding, so I gleefully obliged. I met up with Suzuki-sensei, Ogawa-sensei and Hara-san at 8:30 this morning and we drove off to Gifu for the ceremony/reception.

Ogawa-sensei's obi

When we got there, we signed the witness list (my name went on the first line!!!) and presented our shugibukuro (special envelopes for giving money as a gift) to the representative of the bride. In Aya's case, her sister-in-law. Preparing the shugibukuro was an adventure for me, as was buying it. First off, you have to be careful to buy one specific for a wedding, and not for a funeral. Secondly, you have to figure out how to put the money inside: crisp and new, face-up, three is better than two as it's not so easy to divide, not 4 as that's unlucky. Then you have to be sure to put the ribbon back on the right way - with the tassel ends pointing up, for good luck. Down is bad. Then you write your name on the slip of paper tucked under the ribbon.

After that we went upstairs to have some tea and bide our time until things got underway. While we were waiting, Aya's "friend in Spain" (as she was introduced to last year's 1nensei), Miwa, arrived. She came right over, as I was easily recognizable (being the only gaijin present), and we chatted away in Spanish. Her Spanish, I must say, is fantastic. If I heard her speaking without being able to see her, although I might guess she wasn't a native speaker, I wouldn't know she was Japanese.

The bride's side.

Eventually we were invited to come to a small room where Aya and Yohei were seated, being photographed and waiting to start a small, private ceremony with her family only. It lasted only a few minutes, and then we all went to a larger room. In Western fashion, Yohei waited while Aya was escorted by her dad to the front of the room. There, they signed a document, put rings on each others' fingers, showed them to us all, he kissed her on the cheek and away they went. As they were leaving the room, we blew bubbles at them.

From there we were all herded into a portrait room, where we were arranged on risers and our picture was taken 3 or 4 times. And then we were herded out.

Next was the reception room where we listened to speeches from the bride and groom's bosses, then a couple friends, and that was it. We saw a few computerized slideshows, one from my LMS, one of the bride and groom growing up, and one of three of their friends who then proceeded to do a dance in cheerleader outfits. Two of them were dudes.

Two of Aya's (junior?) high school friends also played "It's a Small World" on bells.

While at some weddings the bride will change her outfit and even hair three times (wearing 4 different dresses), Aya only changed once - although she did get a new hairdo after the ceremony. She was beautiful in all her looks. And I'm not just saying that because I love her!

Tiramisu, Mamon Chino and Pineapple

Finally, it was time to leave. But before we did, the caterers brought out big bags with presents from both families. As we left, filing out and greeting Aya, Yohei and their parents, we were given more presents. And before getting on the elevator, the hotel people gave us another present.

LMS Bags waiting to depart.

All in all, it was a great day. Last night I was in a bad place since the dress and shoes I'd ordered from home didn't make it here in time, forcing me to wear my usual brown suit. But I jazzed it up with the skirt I never wear, and off I went. And even though I wasn't looking super cute in my dress and pumps, and my hair was sort of arranged haphazardly, and my suit jacket is a little big on me now... I still got hit on by one of Yohei's ladies' man friends. Yoshhhhh! That would be the first time in two years that a Japanese man [my age] has done anything close to hitting on me. Thank you, Matsuo-san, for making my month! (Besides the joy of being at Aya's wedding, that is!)

It's Christmas at my house!
All of my gifts from the wedding, including a rose from the centerpiece and the napkin from my lap.


Blogger Melissa said...

Aya sensei, OMEDETOU!!! \(^o^))/

I hope we get to see more pix if we're special flickr friends (^_<) Aya looks super-cute in the blurry background of the cheer 'girl' pic!

4:34 AM

Blogger Abbey said...

Yes, I'll be uploading now!

And that "cheer girl" was a dude! So sad that he looks better in that outfit than I would... except for his hairy legs. The other dude had a beard and black dress socks on... it was really funny!

8:58 AM


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