Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tokyo Wedding: 3. Legal procedures

Unlike Las Vegas, a wedding ceremony in Japan does not have any legal ground.  You are not legally married until you register your marriage with a local government (if you are a resident in Japan), your embassy or in your home country.

If you are already married in other countries, you can have another wedding ceremony in Tokyo.  It can be a great way to reaffirm your marriage bonds for your anniversary.  With a touch of a local culture, it will be more unique and memorable.

Tokyo Wedding: 2. Religions and ceremonies

If you are not Christian but yearn for a Christian style wedding, Japan is the destination. 

Statistics say that more than 60% of Japanese couples conduct their ceremony in Christian style.  With only  1% of population being Christian, how can it be possible? 

I must say that Japanese people are flexible about religions.  With the nature of Shinto, a Japanese indigenous religion, being polytheistic, people respect different gods and religions and try to take in good parts from each.  It is quite a norm for a person to marry with a Christian wedding and die with a Buddhist funeral. 

If you are not a Christians, there are many commercial chapels that accepts anyone, while most authentic churches  require the couples to be real Christian or to take pre-wedding seminars. 

Other 15 to 20% choose a Shinto style ceremony.  You will find many Shinto shrines throughout the country.  A Shinto wedding ceremony originates in the beginning of the 20th century when the Prince of the time conducted his wedding in Shinto style for the first time. 

If you would like an oriental wedding style wearing a kimono and respect the local culture,  a Shinto ceremony in a shrine is your choice.  The ceremony is conducted in solemn and authentic Shinto style. Most shrines welcome non-Japanese couples, provided everything is conducted in Japanese and that you either understand the language or have an interpreter. 

Conveniently, major hotels in Japan offer packages that include a  ceremony and a following banquet in the hotel.  The hotels have in-house mimic chapels and shrines, so you don't have to move from one place for the ceremony to another for the banquet.  What's also convenient is that international hotels have multi-lingual staff. 

If you choose a Shinto ceremony, you don't have to give up wearing a white wedding dress.  Many brides enjoy changing dresses several times:  a kimono for the ceremony, a wedding dress at the beginning of the banquet and an evening dress later.  

It is (supposed to be) a once-in-a-lifetime event. Enjoy! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Engagement Photo Tour

It is not really a norm in Japan to have engagement photos taken, but many people in other parts of the world even hire professional photographers for it.  It also makes a great reason to travel with your spouse-to-be:  A photo-shooting trip! 

For post-wedding honeymoon people look for romantic getaway.  Especially if you are exhausted after months of preparatory work and big banquets, just sitting back at a quiet resort will be a good treatment.

An engagement trip can be more adventurous.  A road trip will provide different shooting locations and your photo book will have a more professional taste.  I would suggest a itinerary with a combination of nature and vividly-colored cities. 

Engagement photos are better to look like snapshots of daily life, but a little thought will produce better results.  Bring several set of clothes with different tones.  Avoid loud patterns.  Makes sure your clothes get along with your partner's.  Don't try to wear only brand new clothes, and avoid wearing hats you never wear:  the resulting photos will not look like you.   

After all, having fun is the most important factor for happy photos.  Have a pleasant trip!   

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Honu's Life

On the Big Island of Hawaii, you often meet sea turtles or honu on many of the beaches.  After a few days of stay, you get somewhat accustomed but still feel delighted when you spot them.

When the tide is low, they sit still on the sand or rock and dry their shells.  I seem to find them more often on beaches where snorkeling is especially great.  Having enjoyed the sun, they slowly moves and swim back to the ocean as the tide gets higher.  They live by the clock of the nature.  No hurry. 

In Japan their is an old saying that a turtle lives for ten thousand years.  What's the secret of longevity?  Obviously they don't try to go faster than they have to.