「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


A celebration of love

By Tan Ying Zhen


It wasn’t my wedding, but I was almost as nervous as though it were my own.

My good friend was getting married in Kyoto City. She had kindly invited me and I was both excited and nervous. I had never attended a Japanese wedding before and I was worried about making an inadvertent faux pas.

Another Japanese friend came to the rescue. She tutored me in various superstitions (“Try not to wear black tights”) and showed me how to prepare the gift money, from getting brand-new notes at the bank to carefully writing my name on the envelope and keeping it in a special case.

It was very different from what I was used to. In Singapore, we prepare gift money for weddings too, but the steps involved are minimal. We prepare bank notes that look new, but seldom go to the extent of ensuring they are brand-new. The money goes into special envelopes that resemble pochibukuro. After sealing the envelopes we write our names and a congratulatory message on the back. It’s clearly a simpler process than the Japanese equivalent.

Weddings are windows into different cultures, and I was thankful for the chance to learn more about Japanese culture through the wedding. It was also one of the most beautiful weddings I had ever attended. The couple had put in tremendous efforts to make it a wedding that was uniquely theirs.

First, there was no priest or pastor. Rather, the couple invited guests to sign their names on a card because they wanted us all to be their witnesses.

The couple also arranged for a special ceremony. A vase containing a dozen roses was placed at the back of the chapel and the couple took turns to call out the names of 12 guests who had taught them different things that they wanted to bring to their marriage. The groom started by calling his mother, who had taught him the meaning of love. His mother took a rose from the vase and walked down the aisle as her son gave a thank-you speech. Finally she handed the rose to her son. At the end of this ceremony, the bridegroom presented the bouquet of roses to his wife, who placed one stalk in his shirt pocket.

The simple and sweet ceremony was rich in symbolism and more than a few tears were shed at the heartfelt speeches. Even more tears were shed later as the couple gave their thank-you speeches to their parents.

By the time the wedding ended, the sky had darkened. I stepped out into the cold, a handwritten note from the bride tucked in my coat pocket. It was a typical Kyoto winter, but I felt warm on this special day of love and gratitude.



The Japan Times ST: January 30, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版