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I'm drinking the best cheap-ass red wine
I ever had in my life at this very moment.
It's made somewhere in Japan, but they call
it Mon Frère -- at $4.00 a bottle
you can't beat it.
It's pretty late here, almost 1:00 a.m.,
and Jack and Karen have long since gone to
bed. Since I started Japanese language school
I've gotten into the habit of posting to
Hunkabutta late at night: It seems to be
the only time that I can sit down alone at
the computer for long enough. Consequently,
there have been a lot of crappy posts put
up here in the past few months.
Well, I'm hoping that that's going to change
soon. Tomorrow is my last day of class for
this semester, and I've decided to take next
semester off. I've done three semesters in
a row (about 8 months) and I'm feeling kind
of burnt out with it. I can't even get a
handle on the old grammar before I'm inundated
with the new stuff. So, I figured that I'd
use the next three months to work on my conversation
and reading ability and play catch up with
all that old grammar. Unless something major
comes up, I'll go back to school in January
for one final semester.
I might do some freelance web work or photography,
but what I'll probably be doing most is looking
after Jack and the apartment while Karen
works from home. She's built up quite the
reputation as an editor and now gets just
about as much freelance work as she can handle.
Of course I'll still be doing the weddings
on the weekends. I'm planning on spending
my mornings in the library doing my Japanese
studying and computer work (if I have any).
That's also probably when I'll end up doing
Hunkabutta, so I hope that I'll be able to
post more regularly and to write about things
with a bit more substance.
My glass of Mon Frère is nearly empty
and it's time for me to creep into bed.
More from Japan in a few days...
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My last post about a new wedding gig that
I might get at Tokyo Disneyland generated
a lot of interest in the comment section.
There were several questions posed that I
think I'll answer here, rather than in the
comments section itself.
"..I just wanted to ask how you
the job as a wedding pastor?..that
like an incredible part-time job."
Yes, it's a great job. I got the idea to
do it from a friend of mine who was doing
it a few years ago. When I got laid off from
my programming job and enrolled in Japanese
language school it was the first thing that
I thought of doing. I got my pastor job simply
by answering a want ad in the paper for 'Ministers
or experienced Christians.' I figured 13
years in the Catholic school system made
me experienced enough.
"The fact that you said 'Christian weddings
are trendy' seems more bizarre to me than
Yeah, I know. It is bizarre. The Japanese
seem to have the ability to mix and match
religions at will. At first glance this seems
ridiculously contradictory, but once you
accept it, it's actually pretty cool. They
seem to be able to focus on the social aspects
of the various ceremonies and sacraments
(i.e., who's there, how do I get to mingle
with other people, what message does this
ceremony send out to other people about me
and my family, can I afford to do these ceremonies,
Christian-style weddings started to become
popular in the early 1980's after a famous
singer (kind of like a Japanese Madonna)
had her Christian-style wedding aired on
TV. It was a big event. A few years later
there was the incredibly glamorous wedding
of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and that
was really the icing on the cake.
According to my company training manual,
although less than 2% of the Japanese are
Christian, Christian-style weddings now account
for nearly 70% of all weddings performed
in Japan. It is one of the only business
sectors continuing to grow in the current
I think that one of the reasons the Christian-style
wedding is so popular is that it's all centred
around the bride. She is the star for the
day. Everyone stands and watches her as she
makes her way down the aisle in her beautiful
white wedding gown. In a Shinto ceremony,
the bride is pretty much just a well dressed
farm animal being passed from one family
to the other. She doesn't really stand out.
And let's face it, although most guys will
agree to show up at the wedding, it's really
the girl who puts it all together and makes
the final decision.
"How do 'normal' Japanese weddings work?
Do they do the 'normal' Japanese wedding
thing, as well as the ersatz Christian wedding?"
As far as I know, all marriages in Japan
actually take place in City Hall (or the
Ward office). You are not married until you
go down there and fill out the forms, whether
or not you participate in any kind of ceremony.
So, technically speaking, most of the people
that I marry have already been legally married
for several months. The Christian wedding
and reception is just for the benefit of
In terms of other types of religious ceremonies,
there are also Buddhist and Shinto weddings.
I believe that Shinto weddings were the most
popular before the Christian-style came into
vogue. If I'm not mistaken, the Shinto style
was a bit of a trendy thing too initially,
being started by a dashing Prince in the
1920's. Shinto only became the official state
religion after the Meiji Restoration (second
half of the 19th century) but has always
been the religion of the royal household.
Before that, I suppose most people had Buddhist
ceremonies. Of course, a lot of people still
have Buddhist weddings, but I've never been
to one. I've heard that they're quite beautiful.
Well, enough about weddings for now. Maybe
next time I'll walk you through the ceremony
so that you can get a better idea what it's
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Some of you may know that a few months back
when I entered Japanese language school I
took a part-time job as a Christian wedding
I marry non-Christian
Japanese couples in hotels and restaurants.
Christian-style weddings are very trendy
here. It's a great job for a student.
My goal is to make at least one person cry
at each ceremony. I want them to feel the
sanctity of the situation in the pits of
their stomachs, I want the tart poignancy
of the moment of 'I do' to be forever etched
in their supple Buddhist brains. That is
why I am very excited about a possible big
break in my pastor career: I might get to
be the priest who does Christian weddings
at Tokyo Disneyland.
Can you believe that?!?
My life is so stange sometimes that
I can't believe it.
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Been busy lately. School is chugging along
like a freight train going downhill, and
I've been doing a lot of weddings because
high season is just starting.
Unfortunately, it's getting late now, so
I'm going to have to get to bed and give
a more lucid description of my life's situation
Enjoy the pictures